The MBWG held its 9th Annual Meeting at the College of Forest Resources, Mississippi State University on January 19, 2011. Twenty-seven attendees represented a range of state and federal agencies, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and private companies. The meeting focused on committee planning, and featured presentations on MBWG activities and bat conservation and research.
9:00 – 9:15 am Registration
9:15 – 9:30 am Welcome, introductions, housekeeping
9:30 – 9:50 am Roost trees and utilizations by Rafinesque’s big-eared bat and southeastern myotis on Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge and adjacent forestlands – Jeanne C. Jones, Heather L. Fleming, Candice Stevenson and Jerrold L. Belant, Mississippi State University
9:50 -10:10 am Distribution and habitat selection of bats in central Alabama forests – Eva Kristofik, US Fish and Wildlife Service
10:10 – 10:30 am Break
10:30 – 10:50 am Phenological study of bat communities in Mississippi caves – Zachary U. Roth and David C. Beckett, University of Southern Mississippi
10:50 – 11:10 am Monitoring bat use of Mississippi caves: implications for white nose syndrome – Kathy Shelton, Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
11:10 – 11:30 am White nose syndrome: summary and discussion – Eric Britzke
11:30 – 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 – 1:30 pm Summary of the 2010 mist net event and plans for 2011 – Becky Rosamond
1:30 – 1:45 pm Updates from SBDN – Darren Miller
1:45 – 2:30 pm Committee meetings (Committees were established last year but were not given any direction/focus. Would like committees to meet, discuss action items for the next year and report back to the group. Need folks to join committees.)
2:30 – 3:00 pm Committee reports
3:00 – 3:15 pm Old business: non-profit status; secretary/treasurer report
3:15 – 4:00 pm New business
The MBWG changed its meeting location for the 9th annual meeting held on January 19, 2011. The meeting was held on the campus of Mississippi State University in Tully Auditorium, College of Forest Resources. Presentations on current bat research in Mississippi and Alabama was presented, along with updates on SBDN, last year’s mist net event, white nose syndrome, and MBWG committees. Treasurer/secretary Stephanie Steele provided a report out on the past year’s activities. Becky Rosamond led a discussion on the 2010 mist net event held August 9-11 at Sardis Lake. She thanked the events organizers and sponsors who helped host a successful event, yielding 10 bat captures representing six bat species. The 2011 mist net event is tentatively scheduled for sometime in June or July, with possible sites including Grenada Lake, Tara Wildlife in the Delta, or LeFleurs Bluff park in Jackson, MS. Attendees discussed the potential to combine this event with the MSU summer camp in June that serves kids ages 8-15 and runs from Sunday through Thursday. There are three different camps and Terri Jacobson volunteers to follow up with the dates of those camps.
A break-out session for the committees was held to give committee members an opportunity to work on planning projects and establishing committee goals. They then reported out to the meeting participants. The following updates were provided:
- The Mist Net Event Committee, chaired by Becky, discussed upcoming event possibilities and the potential need for additional equipment.
- The Bat Exclusion and Bat House Committee, chaired by Patrick Smith, discussed the possibility of a state-wide survey for bat houses as there is a need for better data in Mississippi. They could have maps on regions represented on the website as a result of the survey and provide how-to instructions. They could also have a ‘bat house check day’ like the annual backyard bird count. Committee members included David Dunn, Paul Fioranelli, Shea Staten, Glynda Clardy, and George Harris.
- The Public Relations / Education Committee, co-chaired by Terri Jacobson and Deb Freeman, will be sending out an email soliciting bat presentations that members may use as a resource. They identified the need to spearhead a Legislative effort to protect caves in the state and to educate school kids, land trust groups, conservation easements, and private landowners on their conservation. They need to look at other states to see what is being done and write letters to state representatives to garner support. They might make use of gating conservation measures by NRCS or the brochure out of Kentucky. They could do outreach using a photo drop of some sort, such as Shutterbug or Flickr and could state a Facebook page for the MBWG. They need to have more one-day events either educating the public/kids about bats. Jeanne Jones suggested using MSU TV crew for pod casts, short 5 minute videos on bats, and could also use Rex, a videographer for bat education ads.
- The Awards Committee, chaired by Chester Martin, identified a need to establish criteria for the Chester O. Martin Award with factors for consideration and only given on an ‘as deserved’ basis. Other awards to consider might include a publication award or conservation award. They need to look at how SBDN and TWS give awards and consider the cost. Committee members include Darren Miller and Anrea Shuhmann.
- The Bridge Replacement Committee, chaired by Stephanie Steele, discussed producing a brochure encouraging the use of ‘bat friendly’ bridges. The brochure would include an overview of bats and the importance of bridges at roost sites, bridge specifications or where to get the specifications, a cost analysis, box culverts, and data captured at culverts. They will need to consider the cost of producing the brochure and which agency/group would take the lead. Committee members include Nicole Hodges, Eva Kristofik, Sandie Kilpatrick, and Chuck Walters.
- The Website Committee, chaired by Monica Wolters, noted that the website is connected to the SBDN site and the group discussed starting a Facebook page and the needs to update the current website. The site should have a link with a membership form so people can join online. Zac and Deb will look into Facebook page options and report back to Becky. The other committee member is Zac Roth.
- The Research / Cave Committee, chaired by Alison McCartney (absent), reported out a change in committee name to Conservation Committee. Important factors to consider are forest stand conditions, leaving cavity trees during timber activities, providing cave information and protection, and to point people to review and comment on management plans as they’re being developed. They also noted the need to consider the conservation implications of large culverts.
Other topics discussed included rabies vaccinations. Where people can get them (i.e., local health departments, vet school), what the cost is, and the need for boosters and titer checks. Old business included the MBWG non-profit status, as the group is now registered with the State of MS as a non-profit organization but still needs to file with the IRS. New business included a vote to have a logo designed by Chester Martin. The group also agreed to host a booth on April 9th at the Museum’s Nature Fest event. They need volunteers to man the booth and the education committee will work on the display.