Thank you, thank you to everyone who has submitted feedback. I treasure the details you are capturing from your interactions with the public and with staff on-site.
When I have needed to write to the iSWOOP program officer at NSF, I share a tasty quote with him as well as taking care of logistics. He made an appreciative comment when he wrote back. : ). You’re making a very positive impression.
Here are some highlights (all your words, mostly quoting visitors).
What happens if bats stay out past sunrise? (then they learn about predators) Would a red-tailed hawk chase the late bats into the cave? Why can bats fly into a dark cave and hawks can’t? Would the hawk run into the wall if it chased a bat into the cave?
How different bats’ flight is fron that of birds
The couple predicted that bats would be sleeping during the day. I played the thermal video of the bats in the Bat Cave and they were surprised to see that they are quite active.
We all were curious to know at what time the footage was taken during the day?
When I first switched from regular speed of bat flight to the slow motion version, they audibly gasped and got closer to the screen to look at the details. They offered observations on the differences between the two species of bats in the wind tunnel, and asked why their wings looked so different. They spent a long time on that slide pointing out their observations to each other. When we moved on to motion capture, one man, unprompted, started giving examples of ways motion capture is used in animation.
They learned that scientists actually visited this park–they were not aware of that. They did not know that our bats were the subject of any research, or that bats could be trained to fly in wind tunnels. Quite literally they saw the bat flight in a new way. They also realized that exciting research is done in their national parks.
Some of their spontaneous questions included: are those bats flying in or out of the cave and how do you know?, why does each bat have a yellow dot in its center? (from the thermal images). This group understood thermal imaging pretty well, as one of the men used it to detect where heat escapes from houses. They also brainstormed alot of reasons at the end why there might be more bats one night than another, or even one year than another.
General consensus, it seemed, that our discussions of thermal imaging will enhance their experiences during bat flight. One had earlier commented that he experiences bat flight less emotionally and more intellectually, so new insights on uses of thermal technology really hit home for him.