Bat conservation presentation coming up in Madison

A presentation on bat conservation is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday at Ivy Tech Community College, 590 Ivy Tech Drive, Madison.

Kassie Karssen, a wildlife biologist for Big Oaks and Muscatatuck national wildlife refuges, will lead the program, which will be during a Big Oaks Conservation Society meeting. It’s free and open to the public.

Karssen has been with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 2015 and has had the opportunity to work at several refuges within the Midwest Region during that time. She has led many acoustic bat surveys and has developed an appreciation for bats and all they do for the environment.

Although some people fear bats, mainly due to misconceptions, these creatures play several important roles in environmental management and health, according to a news release from Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge. By learning about bats, it’s possible to dispel common myths and gain an appreciation for them and the major role they play in the pollination of fruits, dispersal of seeds and how they aid in reduction of crop pests.

The refuge says now more than ever, bats need our understanding and help as they see massive population declines all over the world, including in the Midwest. Big Oaks is part of a larger effort to survey for bat species, like the federally endangered Indiana bat, northern long-eared bat and the candidate species tricolored bat.

For information, call 812-273-0783.