Appalachian Laboratory to host bat event as part of Watershed Moments series

October 24, 2019

FROSTBURG, MD (October 7, 2019) – Although bats provide a number of beneficial services- from eating insects, to pollinating plants and spreading seeds, to providing the inspiration for advances in sonar and airplane navigation- many of us still view them as the dirty carriers of disease or the mythical symbols of darkness and danger.

On Thursday, October 24, at 6:30pm, the Appalachian Laboratory will kick off international “Bat Week” with a Watershed Moments Community Learning Series event all about bats. University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Ph.D. student Juliet Nagel and the Maryland Department of Natural Resource’s Dan Feller will present “Bats- the myth understood mammals,” sharing the facts about bats and providing an update on the latest bat research in Maryland and beyond. 

 “I first fell in love with bats during a tropical ecology course in Costa Rica.  I had never seen a bat up close before, and they are amazing!  Bats are incredibly diverse and truly fascinating critters.  I hope to share what makes these little flying furballs so wonderful.  Some are adorable, others are bizarre, all are vitally important,” said Juliet Nagel.

Dan Feller, co-presenter, added, “To many folks bats appear scary or creepy, but they’re really not, just a little different.  Sometimes different is good and this is certainly the case for our furry flying friends as they perform important ecosystem functions that we can all relate to like eating large quantities of sometimes pesky insects like mosquitos and a wide variety of crop pests.  Recent catastrophic population declines in hibernating bats across the United States should be something that should alarm us all as these much maligned but remarkable creatures really need our help.”

Organized annually by a team of representatives from conservation organizations and government agencies across the United States and Canada, “Bat Week” serves as an international celebration of the role of bats in nature. To learn more about this annual, international event, visit

Juliet Nagel has served on the Appalachian Laboratory bat research team since 2010 and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the Appalachian Laboratory through the Marine-Estuarine Environmental Sciences Graduate Program of the University System of Maryland.  She holds an M.S. in Zoology from the University of Western Ontario and a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Wildlife Ecology and Management from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.  Since 2003, she has worked with bats throughout the eastern United States and in Oregon, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, and Canada.

Dan Feller has served as Western Regional Ecologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources- Wildlife and Heritage Service since 1991.  As Regional Ecologist, he conducts scientific research, population monitoring, biological inventory and environmental review of rare, threatened and endangered species, including bats.  He holds a B.S. in Wildlife Management and General Biology from Frostburg State University (FSU).

This event, held at the Appalachian Laboratory, is free and open to the public.  Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact Rhonda Schwinabart at 301-689-7102 or with any event-related questions.