Here is something to know about me: I love talking to strangers, but give me a formal presentation and I clam up real fast. I took this internship to get me to practice being able to communicate science to the public in a way they can understand and connect. As a college student, I have to get into the mindset that they might not quite have the background I do, but they have valuable experiences they can pull from as well. So going off my still growing knowledge of bats, I delved into science interpretation for those staying at the campground and want to see some bat science happen!
My first presentation went great. My second was definitely rough. It was hard for me to get the courage to try again when you feel like you just learned the knowledge last week! I give so much credit to interpretation staff; they are able to deal with questions they can’t answer and adapt to each visitor at every turn. Since then, I found that doing porch talks with all my acoustic monitoring gear, books, photos, coloring pages, junior ranger books, and all that was more of my speed. I got to work hands on with kids and get them to participate and also talk to strangers about their experiences with bats. The stuffed animals were a huge hit with kids!
I will give formal Bat Chats another try of course, but in the meantime you will find me talking to visitors about bats on the porch with all my stuffed animals and equipment. Great conversation and cool bats means an awesome day at work!