Oh, Ohio, where have you been all my life? Such a natural beauty! I recently experienced the elegance of spring in the Appalachians of south-central Ohio, where Merlin was invited to speak at the Wildflower Pilgrimage, an annual event of the nonprofit Arc of Appalachia.
You may wonder, as I did, why an event celebrating wildflowers would invite a bat expert to speak. I got to see why, merely an hour before we left for the airport. The Executive Director and a founder of the Arc of Appalachia system and Executive Director of its Board, Nancy Stranahan, and her husband, Brent Charette, took us to an area where eastern red bats were frequently seen roosting among the dried leaves of beech or oak trees. During the 16 years of the Wildflower Pilgrimage, attendees have seen and commented on these bats and, for some, it was a highlight of the Pilgrimage. So they asked “the planet’s leading expert on bats, Merlin Tuttle,” to be their keynote speaker!
Merlin gave two talks: one in the afternoon for the public, and the other in the evening for Pilgrimage attendees, with a book signing in between. He complimented Arc members on their efforts to preserve forest diversity that provides critical habitat for countless species, including bats, on their more than 9,000 acres of land.