OHA presents: Secret life of bats in Okanogan

Little brown bat (Myotis lucifigus) as photographed by Roger Christophersen, who will be talking about bats at the Highlands Wonders presentation at the Tonasket Community Cultural Center this Friday.

Little brown bat (Myotis lucifigus) as photographed by Roger Christophersen, who will be talking about bats at the Highlands Wonders presentation at the Tonasket Community Cultural Center this Friday.

TONASKET – Okanogan Highlands Alliance (OHA) presents a fascinating window into the secret life of bats in the Okanogan Highlands and beyond.

On Friday, March 2nd, Roger Christophersen, Wildlife Biologist for the North Cascades National Park Service, will share stories and information about the amazing adaptations and natural history of our local bat species. From the thick crevices in tree bark and abundant insect supply at Lost Lake, to the forest and wetland habitats of Beaver Canyon, the Okanogan Highlands is a great place for bats to thrive.

“We’ll try to unravel some of the misconceptions about these furry critters,” Christophersen said, “and explore their importance and benefits to both society and local ecosystems.”

The presentation will also cover bat ecology, echolocation calls, habitat requirements, and bat species identification. Christophersen plans to touch on study techniques, with a brief look at the results of bat research he has been involved with, as well as current research topics and public health information. He will also share ideas on how individuals can assist with bat conservation.

Christophersen enjoys spending time at his cabin in Chesaw, observing the biodiversity of the highlands. He has over 18 years of experience inventorying and monitoring a diversity of wildlife species in the North Cascades mountain range. His primary emphasis has been on endangered, threatened, rare, sensitive, and keystone mammal and bird species. He has developed a long-standing passion for the conservation and management of bats, as well as alpine species such as pikas and hoary marmots. He currently serves on several Wildlife Working Group committees and Citizen Science Advisory Councils. His skill as an accomplished mountain climber and instructor dovetails the rigors of field research in rugged mountainous terrain.

The exciting Highland Wonders lineup in the months to come includes Bighorn Sheep and Butterflies. The Highland Wonders educational series features the natural history of the Okanogan Highlands and surrounding areas. OHA’s Education Program is designed to build the capacity of the community to steward natural habitats and resources, by helping to develop an informed and empowered population.

The educational series is offered by Okanogan Highlands Alliance, free of charge, as part of the Community Cultural Center (CCC) of Tonasket Friday coffeehouse. The presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. with desserts, tea and coffee; the dinner benefiting the CCC begins at 5:00 pm. The indoor events are held at the CCC, at 411 S Western Avenue, Tonasket, and details are provided on OHA’s website: www.okanoganhighlands.org/education.

OHA is a non-profit that works to educate the public on watershed issues. For more information, email julie@okanoganhighlands.org or call 509-433-7893. OHA is currently planning the outdoor summer interpretive series, and the public can provide input on the topics addressed by filling out the following survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PB6N3GF.

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