The Bat Association of MSU is a registered student organization at Michigan State University. Our mission is to provide space for students to learn about bats and to help the community better understand and appreciate the important role bats play in our ecosystem.
Meet Our Executive Board
Amanda Curton- President
Amanda is an undergraduate student at Michigan State University hoping to graduate with a degree in Environmental Biology in May 2022. She is passionate about sustainable living, animal welfare, and the conservation of vulnerable species - particularly bats, small mammals, and reptiles! In her spare time, she enjoys reading Stephen King novels, cooking plant-based meals, camping, watching nature documentaries, and spending time with her partner and two cats - Jack and Kitty.
Peter Folwer- Treasurer
Peter recently received his DVM from Michigan State University with a focus on Public Health and One Health. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology focusing on diseases of honey bees, but his true love is bats.
Carolyn Graham- Secretary
Carolyn is a PhD student in the Plant Biology Department and the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior program at MSU, studying plant evolution and species interactions. She also did her undergraduate at MSU where she majored in biochemistry. She finds bats fascinating because they are incredibly diverse - in fact, about 25% of all mammal species are bats! Bats are also incredibly important parts of many ecosystems, and many have very cool interactions with plants. She has been a part of BAM for about a year and looks forward to participating in more bat-related research and education in the future.
Elizabeth Litwin- Community Outreach
Elizabeth is an undergraduate student studying Fisheries and Wildlife at MSU. She is passionate about bats, birds of prey, reptiles, and citizen science. Outside of school, she competes on the USA Archery team and travels to as many public lands as she can.
Our Shared Values
As a group we support the One Health model, understanding that the health of our community is intimately linked with the health of our ecosystem. One Health is a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals and environment. Bat conservation has a large role to play in this effort for a number of reasons.
Bats make up the largest number of any mammalian species. With over 1200 species identified so far, 1 in every 5 species of mammal is a bat. Their ability to fly has given them the unique ability to speciate and adapt to a huge variety of environmental conditions. From the smallest mammal in the world, the bumblebee bat, to the fastest animal on earth, the Mexican free-tail bat, bats present us with a tremendous amount of insight into the evolutionary process.
Bats are also crucial for seed dispersal and pollination. Their ability to fly means that they can carry fruit seeds long distances. As pollinators, they are crucial for a wide variety of fruit production including bananas, cocoa, mangoes, papaya, and agave necessary to make tequila.
Michigan is home to 9 species of bat, including the endangered Indiana bat. These bats play an important role in controlling local insect population. Their value in controlling agricultural pests is increasingly being appreciated as a part of integrated pest management strategies. Conserving these species is especially important with the threat of White Nose Syndrome, a fungus spreading to colonies across the country. Most recent research about the prevalence of this disease in Michigan can be found in our resources section along with the Department of Natural Resources strategy for the management.