They’re furry, they fly, and up close, they’re actually kind of cute. Plenty of people think bats are scary, but at the Great Lakes Bat Festival, the goal is to dispel the myths surrounding these misunderstood creatures.
“There are so many misconceptions,” said Lynn Lashbrook, an event volunteer. “Most people think bats are blind- They’re not. Most people think bats can get caught in their hair- They wouldn’t. They’re much more agile than that.”
“Bats are critical to the environment,” said Cory Joyrich, an event volunteer. “They do things like pollinate different flowers and eat so many bugs.”
The festival was held at the Washtenaw County Community College.
“This is the 13th annual festival,” said Rob Mies, the executive director of the Organization for Bat Conservation “It’s the biggest one we’ve ever had. There’s 3,000 people here, easily, today. And what a great opportunity for the people of Washtenaw county and Southeast Michigan to send positive messages about bats.”
Mies is a trained bat-handler, and he left crowds in awe as he let a giant, furry, Malayan fruit bat hang from his arm.
“The flying fox from Southeast Asia, also called a Malayan fruit bat, is the biggest bat species in the entire world,” said Mies.
The event offered plenty of activities for adults and children alike. Some activities included a bat walk, an area where kids could build their own bat wings and even an area where people could construct bat houses.
There was a lot to learn, and bat fanatics gathered from around the globe to share their love for the furry little critters.
“I love everything about bats,” said Jerry Carter. “I’ve been into bats since I was a little kid.”
“I would say I love their fuzzy bodies,” said Ann Hernandez. “And how cute they are.”
“I like how they hang upside-down,” said Evan Cissell. “And they’re night owls.”
The CW50 Street Team likes bats too! And they’re looking forward to returning to Great Lakes Bat Festival 2015.