As we begin a new year, I find myself thinking about the past and envisioning the future. BCI is on the threshold of its fourth decade as a champion of bat conservation. And even as the door to the future opens with the promise of a new Executive Director and a dynamic new vision, we will always remember and cherish our history and the dedicated friends and colleagues who rallied to the cause of bat conservation and contributed mightily to all that we have achieved.
We will always be thankful to those who have supported us in our mission and to those who rolled up their sleeves and joined us in the field. We have succeeded because of your unstinting support and I am personally honored to serve bat conservation, BCI and you in these challenging – and exhilarating – times. I am humbled by the generous support and friendship BCI has received all over the world. Thank you for making our work possible!
2012 has been a very special time for BCI. In addition to joining the world in celebrating the International Year of the Bat, as well as our own 30th anniversary, BCI has recommitted to our global mission of working with dedicated partners to save our bats in the United States and around the globe. We have long recognized that sustainable bat conservation is best achieved through collaboration and that local efforts grow strongest with local leadership. Collaborative conservation is our fundamental operating principle – and people make conservation possible.
The community of bat conservationists is growing around the world. The issues are many and challenges are great, but by working together, we can succeed. I firmly believe that people make all the difference, and that anyone can choose to be a hero for bat conservation. Become a bat champion today and join BCI in our mission to save the world’s bats – to save your bats.
As I close what is most likely my last Memo to you – I expect a new Executive Director will be joining the BCI team shortly – I am saddened to share with you news of the passing of Verne Read, our founding Trustee and Chairman Emeritus (see page 14 of this issue). Without Verne’s commitment to our Founder, Merlin Tuttle, to bat conservation and to BCI, our path to success over the past 30 years would have been far more difficult. Verne truly was a bat champion.
“Verne had always been a hero of mine for his commitment to wildlife conservation and especially to bats,” Walter Sedgwick, Chair of BCI’s Board of Directors, said when I informed him of Verne’s death. “Verne and Merlin achieved something very special when they established BCI. They launched a legacy for bat conservation that will last beyond any of us.”
From our earliest beginnings, Verne was always there for BCI. And he always will be. We will miss you.
Dr. Dave Waldien
Interim Executive Director