Letters from a Young Bat Scientist-No. 5

Alexis Valentine has her bat detetor locked in a bear resistant box.
Photo by Ryan Ownby

In my ongoing blog series about Alexis Valentine, 7th grade bat dynamo, I’ve been inserting correspondence between Alexis and Merlin over the past year.

On December 1, 2014, TheScientist online magazine’s cover story, Lurking in the Shadows, did bats a terrible disservice.  Merlin responded and I blogged about it on December 3rd, Unfairly Maligned Bats Need Help. Alexis read the blog and fired back her opinion with the following commentary on TheScientist’s website. Thank you, Bat Girl! Your activism is inspiring!



December 19, 2014

Dear Alexis,

Thanks for your excellent comments published in response to TheScientist article, “Lurking in the Shadows.” If more people would follow your example, they would quit publishing such misleading articles. You did a great job.

Paula and I will be opening a new website soon and would like to feature some of your activities to inspire other young people. There is no rush, but sometime in the next several months we’d like to feature your activities.

The bat on my book cover is a yellow-winged bat (Lavia frons) from Kenya. It does belong to a family of bats, the Megadermatidae, that mostly feed on a combination of small vertebrates and large insects.

Have you considered giving local talks on bats? One is never too young to begin learning to speak. One young man I helped (aged 10-12) began speaking to students at school and became so popular that all the local conservation groups started inviting him. Within his first two years of practice he spoke at a national meeting of several hundred adults and then was featured on the Johnny Carson Show. I suspect you have similar talent, and I’d be happy to allow you to use some of my photos to present PowerPoint programs along with ones you accumulate of your own activities.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and New Year!