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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Join the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Lubee Bat Conservancy for a free “Year of the Bat Celebration” from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday.

The event begins at the Florida Museum at 3215 Hull Road with displays, live bats and activities on bat biology and conservation. Around 7:15 p.m., visitors will be directed to the University of Florida Bat House on Museum Road, where Lubee Bat Conservancy Director Brian Pope will speak to visitors while waiting for the bats to emerge at dusk.

“Participants will learn more about why bats are important, some of the issues they face and what we can do to help them,” said Florida Museum education assistant Amanda Harvey.

The celebration is a joint program between the museum and the Lubee Bat Conservancy, a 110-acre ranch about 10 miles north of Gainesville.

The most common bat species living on the UF campus is the Brazilian free-tailed bat. The southeastern myotis bat and evening bat also live in the structures. The bats normally emerge during a 15- to 20-minute period after sunset, before total darkness.

Pope said he would like visitors to have fun while gaining an appreciation for the benefits bats provide to healthy ecosystems and human economies.

“In the U.S., 40 percent of bat species are threatened with extinction,” Pope said. “Events such as these allow the Gainesville community to have an exciting and educational night out while learning the benefits of nature’s mysterious flying superheroes.”

The Year of the Bat is a two-year-long global species awareness initiative by The United Nations Environment Program Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals and The Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats. The initiative aims to raise awareness of these often misunderstood animals and their diverse biodiversity benefits.

For more information on Friday’s event, call 352-273-2064.


Media contact: Paul Ramey, APR, 352-273-2054,
Writer: Kate Schofield