Independent Study Coursework
AIP graduate student Jen Woronecki-Ellis is producing amazing results with her bat awareness work and her Good Bat Neighbor (GBN) program. The GBN program connects to her Master Plan, which aims “to engage the community to take action on protecting habitat and biodiversity in natural and urban areas … through bat conservation.”
To support the GBN program, Woronecki-Ellis developed an interactive website that invites visitors to:
- Do their research and find out which bats are in their area.
- Complete the “Bat-titude Survey.”
- Take the Good Bat Neighbor Pledge.
- Become a good bat neighbor by putting up a bat house, planting a bat garden, installing a bat yard sign, and more (1% of the proceeds from the GBN merchandise sales will go to fight White Nose Syndrome, one of the major threats to bats in the U.S., according to the North American Bat Monitoring Program).
- Pin their location as a good bat neighbor on the online map.
Woronecki-Ellis has made important connections with individuals and organizations whose feedback has helped shape her project. She has already connected with a number of bat conservation groups in the United States (e.g. North American Bat Monitoring Program), United Kingdom, Scotland, and Ukraine, and was featured in the Chiroptera Monthly e-newsletter.
Promotional efforts will extend beyond the spring as she continues to promote the program both locally and internationally. She plans to incorporate bat advocacy in her environmental consulting business and says that a partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is in the works. The USFWS is in talks to order her tabling products.
Woronecki-Ellis, who has been involved in wildlife conservation work in Northwest Indiana for more than 15 years, is working on her Master of Arts (MA) in the biological sciences from Miami University through Project Dragonfly‘s Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP). As an AIP student, Woronecki-Ellis takes web-based Miami courses and explores Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo and natural areas around Illinois.