Thousands celebrate bats at festivals

Capital News Service
LANSING — Bat enthusiasts hope to see festivals celebrating the web-winged mammal in every Great Lakes state. The original Great Lakes Bat Festival started in Michigan, founded by the Organization for Bat Conservation, a nonprofit group to protect bats and teach about them. The festival celebrated its 15th anniversary two weeks ago and drew more than 3,000 people to Clinton Township. “We started the bat festival because we realized that it was really important to get all the agencies and bat experts together to educate the public and reach out to the media about how important bats are in the Great Lakes region,” said Rob Mies, the executive director of the Organization for Bat Conservation, based at Cranbrook Indtitute of Science in Bloomfield Hills. This weekend his group, the U.S. Forest Service and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources  are putting on one of the biggest bat festivals in the region: the Wisconsin Bat Festival.