Pamela Martin, director of IUPUI’s Center for Earth and Environmental Sciences, said she is excited about hosting the festival as it offers a fresh look at bats, the diverse ecosystems they occupy and the importance of environmental health to those ecosystems.
The free event is being coordinated by recent IUPUI School of Science graduate Jan Lesniak, who returned to college after a successful law career to study biology. Part of her studies included urban bats.
“Bats often get a bad rap,” she said. “Our ignorance about bats often perpetuates myths and leads to fear. I hope that with the opportunity to see, listen to and learn about bats at the Bat Festival, others will find bats as fascinating, beneficial and worthy of protection as I do.”
The festival will feature an assortment of educational and entertaining experiences for the entire family, including live bat programs beginning at 10:20 a.m. There will also be live raptor demonstrations starring hawks, falcons and owls.
A silent auction of nature-related and other items will also take place, with bidding closing at 3:50 p.m.
The festival will shift to the pagoda at Garfield Park, 3450 Shelby St., from 6 to 10 p.m., when children can participate in the “batventures” activity course and learn environmental field research techniques. Bat watching will take place at dusk, with acoustic monitors present to help listen for bats as they emerge to forage on insects.