Letters from a Young Bat Scientist-No. 7

Alexis "Bat Girl" Valentine's Science Fair Project
Alexis “Bat Girl” Valentine’s Science Fair Project March 2015

This is the final blog of a series introducing an inspiring young lady, Alexis Valentine, aka “Bat Girl” through her own words.

Hi Mr. & Mrs. Tuttle,

I hope you guys are doing good. Any exciting bat news?

We finally had our county science fair after lots of reschedules due to snow days. I’m happy to say that I got 1st place in the 6th–8th grade Jr. division in biological science and I got overall grand champion in the 6th–8th grade Jr. division.

I will go on to the regional competition at the end of March.

Thanks for all of your help!

Alexis “Bat-girl”

March 13, 2015

Hi Mr. & Mrs. Tuttle,

I got my comment sheets back from the regional History Fair. I received a rating of Excellent with many Superior markings. I didn’t win as much as I did at the science fair, but history really isn’t my thing but the judges really loved the info 🙂

They loved hearing about bats. One judge said that it was a great topic and that I was very enthusiastic and good at public speaking. They told me they look forward to me competing next year too.

Have fun on your trip and be safe.

Alexis, “Bat-girl”

Alexis getting questioned by the judges
Alexis getting questioned by the judges

April 2, 2015

Hi Mr. & Mrs. Tuttle

How are you guys doing?

I just got back from the regional science fair. I am happy to report that I won 3 awards with a total of $150 in prizes.

2 special awards:

*from the “Association of Women in Science”: $25 prize for outstanding science project by a young female.

*from “TN Association of Science Teachers”: $100 prize for outstanding demonstration in using the scientific method in research

Overall award (6th–8th grade):

*Excellence award & nominee to compete at the Broadcom Masters & a $25 prize

*received top 10% rating of all projects submitted out of 127

Different judges asked me questions for 2 straight hours and I competed against engineering projects and all kinds of other types of science projects.

Great news for the bats! More people now know about WNS.


We hope that her example will inspire additional young people as well as potential mentors. Such dedicated youth are our hope for the future.

Alexis's Acknowledgements
Alexis’s Acknowledgements

All photos were taken by Alexis’s mom and first mentor. Thank you, Amy, for helping to make this blog series possible!

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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!






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