True animal rescue leaders are an amazing breed. They dedicate their entire lives, all of their time, energy, and resources, to serve living beings that the rest of us create problems for. Everything they have goes into the critters that need them. They love and respect life on a level most of us will never achieve. There are very few of them – much fewer than needed to provide resources for the animals that are abandoned, neglected, and abused, and wildlife endangered by our hubris and ignorance. They are heroes.
I married into a German family, but aside from some colorful street language gleaned at toe-stubbings and other suddenly humanizing moments, the only word that stuck is fledermaus. In childhood, Grandpa would take me to the edge of the big woods and toss up sand and small stones, and the bats would swarm around us like that scene from Batman. Maybe it wasn’t quite that dramatic – but it seemed that way to a little girl, and it was awesome and inspired a lifelong love of bats.
Laura and Tom Finn established and manage a local non-profit, Fly By Night. Two individuals bonded in passion for making a difference, they ARE our local bat conservation and are the only organization providing specialized, expert removal of bats from buildings. They care for bats on their property, conduct research and field studies, provide consultations, build bat houses designed for bats’ needs based on their many years of experience, and work to educate people about the true nature of bats and their ecological importance. Plus they are kind, generous, fun (yup, a little batty) people who live a life of purpose. They are an inspiration.
Whatever your talent or interest, you can make a difference and gain valuable experience.
There are wonderful and unique ways that volunteers could share their time and talents and provide a legacy of impact to this agency. Not only with hands-on bat work like building houses and assisting with field work – but also business-oriented contributions such as managing the social media and website, assisting with marketing and PR, accounting, developing and implementing informative e-newsletters, and more. If you’re good at public speaking and passionate about bat conservation, consider hosting talks at local schools – Laura and Tom will provide the information and materials you need, as well as train you. There are many amazing opportunities to offer the talents and experience you have while gaining valuable experience that will impact your own future.
Additionally, as time moves forward, succession planning and the future of the organization become a concern. It isn’t just the continuity of a business, but a needed service to local wildlife and a treasure of expertise that guides and educates others who serve bats. For those with a passion for bats and a desire to build a career and life making a difference, you should not miss the opportunity to learn from these respected professionals who have given so much to our community – and maybe play an important role in ensuring this resource continues on to protect bats through our next generation.
Whether your grandfather was batman or you just have an interest in learning more about bats and bat professionals, visit Laura & Tom’s website. Among the many resources there is a must-see batcam. And if you are interested in learning more about how you can become involved, contact Laura and Tom directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.