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Bat Benefit

For more than three decades Gerri Griswold and Maureen Heidtmann have fought the good fight, trying to educate an often-repulsed public about bats, one of the most maligned creatures on Earth. On Saturday, July 20th, they will celebrate White Memorial Conservation Center’s 14th year of crusading for the much-misunderstood mammals.

Festivities begin at 7PM with bat-themed cupcakes and lemonade in the Activity Shed and a bat chat in the A B Ceder Room. Heidtmann with display her Big Brown Bat AmBATsador and visitors will learn about the “Bats Count” bat cam project being done in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Control and how they can help.

When darkness sets in, live music will accompany a bat colony as it emerges from the Green Barn and observers will get to count them.

Griswold, administration and development director at the White Memorial, known as Connecticut’s Bat Lady, is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator who is passionate about bats. She tells people when it comes to bats, they've got it all wrong.

“There isn’t an animal in the world that impacts our lives more on a daily basis than the bat,” Griswold says. “They are the number-one controller of night-flying insects. And they are pollinators. You have mangoes because of bats. They are why we have cashew nuts, figs and dates.”

Maureen Heidtmann, also a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and a Certified Wildlife Conservationist with the state’s DEEP, has joined the crusade, working with bats for more than 25 years. She has been presenting programs, chiefly about bats, for many years.

The program is free but pre-registration is required by calling 860-567-0857 or by registering online at Celebration for the Bats Registration..

There is a suggested donation of $5 per person.