Last week I was fortunate enough to deliver my program on 3 occasions, as I continue to revise what I am presenting. I have altered my program to focus mostly on thermal imaging, particularly its uses for censusing.
I have been trying to place my audience participants in the role of scientists, and get them to tell me what are the challenges faced by bat researchers. This has elicited some good feedback in having visitors think about when bats are active and also the type of environment they prefer. People are very responsive to the idea that researchers here cannot regularly engage in the type of activities that are prohibited to audience members at bat flight. This clarifies just how tough it is to study bats without distubing them.
Visitors have also responded well in discussing the need for an accurate count of bats here at CAVE. Many have an inchoate belief that the population here has declined greatly, and they understand that if that early count of 8 million is shown to be wrong, that the whole idea if decline is then at question.
One of my programs had a large audience over 20, of which about 15 were a large family group ranging from teenagers to mature adults. It was fun and lively; I think everyone’s familiarity with each other made for a more informal setting.
Finally, a big highlight form me occurred when a particularly engaged visitor stated that he had not seen this sort of thing at other National Parks, but hoped to see it in the future. I explained that one of the major goals of iSWOOP was to do just that and extend this to many other sites.
A great week overall. I will post again following my next round of programs.