Bat expert presents seminar on Thursday, November 24

The mysterious world of bats will be revealed in a new environmental luncheon series 11:30 a.m., Selkirk College Trail campus

The mysterious world of bats will be revealed in a new environmental luncheon series as one of the region’s foremost bat experts gives people a glimpse of the critters she has studied for 18 years.

Offered by the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology, this Thursday’s (11:30 a.m., Selkirk College Trail campus) seminar by Cori Lausen on her research on West Kootenay bats will herald the first Environmental Networking Seminar Luncheon series.

The Kaslo resident, who holds a masters degree and a PhD in bat ecology from the University of Calgary, will provide a broad overview of bats in B.C., discuss her ongoing research, the importance of bats to the ecosystem and the threats they face.

As the longest-lived and slowest-reproducing mammals for their size, bats are sensitive to population depletion. They are the primary consumer of nighttime insects, including agricultural and forestry pests, but now face conservation risks on a continental scale.

A new disease in hibernating bats is depleting populations in the eastern U.S. and Canada rapidly — and with B.C. containing the greatest species diversity of bats anywhere in the nation, the province has the most to lose.

The seminar is the first offering in the new lineup for KAST’s season. Designed to bring together students and the environmental science and business communities of the West Kootenay, the series features presentations by local scientists working in the environmental sector, lunch and networking.