August 26th – Inaugural Merlin Tuttle Day

Teresa Nichta

8/30/21

We surprised Merlin – yes, actually surprised – with a birthday celebration for his 80th birthday on August 26, 2021, in Austin, Texas. And Mayor Steve Adler of the City of Austin officially proclaimed August 26th as Merlin Tuttle Day, in honor of his success in saving the city’s now world-famous bats.

Be it known that
 
Whereas,
Dr. Merlin Tuttle leads Austin, Texas as an international example of the value of living harmoniously with bats through his philosophy of winning friends, not battles; and
 
Whereas,
Through Dr. Tuttle’s efforts, millions of tourists visit Austin to watch and learn about the bats of the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, supporting healthy ecology, greatly boosting the economy, and creating business opportunities for local entrepreneurs; and
 
Whereas,
Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation is a non-profit organization, based in Austin, Texas, providing Dr. Tuttle’s world-class bat photography and unique conservation guides and resources, used by educators and conservationists globally, and defending one of Austin’s finest natural achievements; and
 
Whereas,
Dr. Tuttle has been a world leader in bat conservation for over 60 years and proudly resides in Austin, Texas;
 
Now, Therefore, 
I, Steve Adler, Mayor of the City of Austin, Texas, do hereby proclaim August 26, as Merlin Tuttle Day in Austin.
 
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the City of Austin to be affixed this 26th Day of August in the Year Two Thousand Twenty-One.
 
Steve Adler, Mayor, City of Austin

Austin is now a world leader in demonstrating that bats make invaluable and safe neighbors. Pictured above is our dear friend and partner, Mindy Vescovo, reading the proclamation aloud to Merlin on this auspicious day. Mindy also surprised all of us with a letter from Texas Monthly, rescinding the 1986 Bum Steer Award (Texas Monthly’s annual “Bum Steer Awards” poke fun at Texas politicians and policies, odd Texas-related news items and personalities from the previous year) that was awarded to Merlin when he first began his work in Austin, Texas. Batman lives, and has a clean record!

Then we all boarded a tour boat, provided by Capital Cruises, to view our little furry friends as they emerged from beneath the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, for a night’s hunt. We’re ever mindful that thanks to Merlin’s work and “winning friends, not battles philosophy, these bats now attract millions of tourist dollars each summer and consume tons of crop and yard pests each night.

Visible, a subsidiary of Verizon Wireless, filmed the event as part of a local campaign to celebrate Merlin’s part in Austin culture. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that a major American corporation has dared promote bat conservation as a popular issue.

Thank you to all who have submitted birthday wishes via videos, messages, posts, and donations. Merlin was delighted to hear from you!

 

Thanks also to Capital Cruises for donating their boat; to Real Minero OficialHeavy Metl, and Pinthouse Beer for donating delicious drinks; to HEB and Central Market for donating decorations and desserts; to Hugo for djing such superb sonic support; to Taco Deli for the iconic food; to Austin Batworks and Bat Conservation and Management for such wonderful silent auction donations; to our friend Mary Smith for the planning support; to Renee Cornue for taking photos; to Mayor Steve Adler, the city of Austin; and to Texas Monthly.

 

You all helped make this day so very special!

 

Thank you to all of you for recognizing and supporting Merlin’s incredible efforts and the impact that can only be accomplished with the generous support of many!

 

Merlin is looking forward to this next decade of defending and sharing the values of bats with the world.

We look forward to many happy Merlin Tuttle Days!