WBWG Officers

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The Western Bat Working Group is governed by a board of elected officers and a board of directors. The officers include a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and four at-large representatives. Two of the at-large representatives are elected and two are appointed by the president. At least one at-large representative will be from Canada. The intent is to have a diverse mix of federal, state, provincial, and private entity representation on the Board with at least one of the Officers being associated with a state wildlife agency that represents Western Bat Working Group at the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and associated groups such as The Trilateral Committee.

Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is made up of Directors that have been elected by the members of their state or province to represent them in the WBWG. More than one director may be selected per state or province although each state is allowed one vote within the function of The Board of Directors. It is up to the discretion of each state or province to determine their election procedure but according to WBWG Bylaws their term of office is two years and until he or she is re-elected, or his or her successor is elected and qualifies.
Officers
Officers are elected by the Board of Directors. Directors should get a consensus from the members of their respective state or province and then vote for officers based on that consensus. Term of office for Officers is two years, or until he or she is re-elected, resigns or is removed or is otherwise disqualified to serve, or until his or her successor shall be elected and qualified, whichever occurs first.
Elections and Voting
Elections for Officers will be conducted every two years. A nomination and elections committee will present a ballot of nominees to the Board of Directors and Officers for approval by October 1. The approved ballot will then be provided to the membership of each state or province by their Director by November 15. Members should send their votes to their respective state or provincial Director. Each Director, for their respective state or province, will record votes from their membership and then cast one ballot reflecting the consensus of votes from their membership to the nomination and elections committee by December 15. The nomination and elections committee will tally the votes and present the results to the outgoing Officers.

Current Officers and Directors


President | Katie Gillies

I have spent the past 15 years of my life working in wildlife conservation, with an emphasis on nongame wildlife and bats.  I earned my B.S. in Wildlife Resources at the University of Idaho and my M.S. in Biology from Idaho State University.  My graduate research examined the population genetic structure and hibernacula characteristics of Townsend’s big-eared bats.  Upon graduation, I became a wildlife biologist for the Nevada Department of Wildlife.  For four years, I worked to minimize and mitigate impacts to Nevada’s wildlife resources from mining and energy development projects and paid special attention to potential impacts to bats at abandoned mine lands sites.  In 2012, I became the Director of the Imperiled Species Program at Bat Conservation International.  Here, I have led BCI’s efforts on both white-nose syndrome and North America’s threatened and endangered bat species.  Taking a holistic approach, I identify needs and implement conservation projects that span geopolitical and international borders.  I love working for a nimble non-profit that allows me to be a vocal advocate for bats and to work with some of the best biologists in the world.  I have worked across the west, including Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma and Texas.  I have worked in Panama and Europe and now work on several projects in eastern North America – including Capitol Hill.  I am a certified wildlife biologist from The Wildlife Society and love to travel, backpack, and camp.  When not travelling, I run marathons, garden, read and create colorful art for my backyard oasis in Tulsa, OK.

Vice President | Justin Stevenson

As a career mesocarnivore biologist and disease specialist, my awareness and education of microchiropterans began in 2010. Since, I have become an ardent chiroptophilic advocate and conservationist. I am the owner of RD Wildlife Management and Consulting, which offers professional wildlife exclusion and zoo-consulting throughout New Mexico. My breadth of expertise includes vertebrate invasive species, urban/suburban wildlife management and human dimensions, commensal species, wildlife disease ecology and “batworks” (i.e., bats and buildings, bats and transportation infrastructure, artificial bat habitat, education).

I am co-chair of the New Mexico Bat Working Group and the New Mexico state co-representative of the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat). I am industry representative (National Wildlife Control Operators Association) at the annual White-nose Syndrome Workshop, and a member of the multiagency White-nose Syndrome Conservation and Recovery Working Group (CRWG), established by the White-nose Syndrome National Response Plan

As a company, we are developing and establishing new standards of animal care and responsible wildlife management (e.g., instituting time-of-year policies for City of Albuquerque, contributing experiential information to the CRWG document ‘Acceptable Management Practices for Bat Control Activities in Structures – A Guide for Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators,’ educating Alabama Vector Management Society members on commensal bat species and humane exclusion practices).

My primary conservation efforts address bats and transportation structures (i.e., bridges, culverts). Through the development of best management practices (‘Best Management Practices for Bat Species Inhabiting Transportation Infrastructure’), and the document ‘Linking Conservation and Transportation: A Bats in Bridges Report,’ surveys, research, education, exclusion services and time-of-year counsel for state DOTs, I am actively influencing transportation authorities, minimizing transportation-specific impacts and promoting conservation. I am currently co-developing bati.institute, an e-learning site comprehensively addressing bats and transportation infrastructure. Additionally, I am the cofounder of Modernbat, which creates innovative, thermally driven, modular roost systems. Modernbat currently provides Arizonan and New Mexican transportation authorities with innovative products to facilitate batcentric stewardship. I am the cofounder of fightwns, a 501(c)(3) fundraising and educational initiative that celebrates North American bats and financially contributes to white-nose syndrome and Pseudogymnoascus destructans research. Through fightwns’ ‘Microgrants for Micro Bats’ program, we’ve been able to support important research nationally. I also rescue and rehabilitate individual bats, which heightens my appreciation and adoration of these

wonderful mammals. I welcome every opportunity to celebrate bats and increase public awareness and education. This includes everything from interactive booths at festivals and events (e.g., ¡Globalquerque!, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge’s ‘Festival of the Cranes’), educating students (e.g., USFS’ ‘Children’s Forest’ program, Southern Sandoval County Flood Control Authority’s ‘Arroyo Classroom’ program, individual school and nature center presentations), and campaigns that promote positive imagery and public perception (e.g., ‘Small is the New Big,’ ’Positive Imagery for Awareness and Advocacy’ pledge, Halloween Battoos, ‘I am a Superhero’).

I began working with bat conservation efforts that led to the formation of the Western Bat Working Group in 1996 and attended the inaugural meeting in Reno in 1998. I’m an active member of the Colorado Bat Working Group and I served as Chair from 2000-2003 and as Co-Chair from 2010-present. It has been an honor to be a part of the WBWG; it is an inspirational and diverse group of very dedicated managers, scientists, and conservationists. I look forward to continuing to help with critical bat conservation issues into the future.

Secretary | Milu Velardi

I have more than ten years of experience working in wildlife research, with expertise in bat and bird ecology, conservation, and outreach. I am skilled in the development, analysis, and advancement of field research related to energy development, forest management, and wildlife conservation at local, state, and federal levels.

I have a Master’s Degree in Wildlife & Fisheries Resources from West Virginia University. My graduate research focused on the roosting ecology of Myotis septentrionalis, using radio-telemetry to track bats to their summer roost tree sites.I also created predictive models to determine senescence of trees after exposure to prescribed fire and herbicide.

Before returning to my home state of Colorado, I designed and implemented conservation-based education programs in schools and non-profit entities in and around Washington, D.C. for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. I also was a classroom teacher many moons ago but prefer bats to children.

In 2015, I worked for Rob Schorr and Jeremy Siemers at the Colorado Natural Heritage Program where I helped to establish bat acoustic monitoring locations throughout Colorado as part of NABAT project, as well as conducting surveys for jumping mice in the San Luis Valley. I enjoy assisting Kirk Navo in netting of bats whenever I can. Currently I am a wildlife biologist for a local consulting firm in Colorado.

Treasurer | Brad Phillips

I am employed as a Wildlife Biologist on the Black Hills National Forest (US Forest Service) in Custer, SD.  I also serve as one of the contact persons for the Rocky Mountain Region (R2) on issues related to bats and bat habitat.  I have a B.S. degree in Wildlife Management (1980) from Humboldt State University, CA.

I also serve as Co-Chairperson for South Dakota Bat Working Group (1998-present).  I have been the Treasurer for WBWG since 2004.   My professional interests include bats, cave/karst management, abandoned mines, forest raptors, and reptiles/amphibians. Thank you for your consideration.

At Large Representative | Shannon Hilty

I currently am a Masters student in the Ecology Department at Montana State University Bozeman, where I am examining the effects of mountain pine beetle on bats in western forests. I received my B.A. in Ecology at the University of Montana in 2009. While at UM, I studied a wide range of mammals from pikas to porcupines and was introduced to and gained interest in the world of bats. After graduation, I began working for the Montana Natural Heritage Program in Helena, Montana, where I studied everything from mollusks and aquatic macroinvertebrates to small mammals and bats.  In 2013, I was fortunate enough to be funded to work on Montana’s statewide bat acoustic surveillance project, the goal of which was to gather baseline data prior to the arrival of white-nose syndrome in the state.  During my three years on the project, I helped manage and maintain over 70 long-term acoustic detectors and conducted cave and mist net surveys for bats. I also worked with my colleagues to develop a Montana specific acoustic key and developed and presented training workshops for wildlife professionals pertaining to bat survey methods.  Although I will be able to focus on my interests in bats more specifically while in graduate school, I would like to become more involved in the bat conservation community.  Thus, I am excited about the possibility of becoming an At-large Representative for the WBWG and to take my involvement to another level. I am passionate about bats, have an extremely hard work ethic, and enjoy collaborating with other groups, which often is necessary when addressing conservation issues on a large scale.  Thank you for your consideration.

At Large Representative | Bill Haas

My interest (and love) of bats began when, after graduation from Harvard College, I accepted a Peace Corps assignment as a teacher and curriculum developer to the Central American country of Belize (Central America), which was soon to become an independent nation. When designing the first outdoor ecology class for the Belize College of Arts, Sciences, and Technology, which I ultimately taught in the country’s Mountain Pine Ridge area, I began to explore the many field exercises that I could incorporate into a nighttime field component. We included all of the following in a robust day/night field component: general audio surveys (that is, for birds, amphibians, mammals, insects), spotlight survey (transects), and cave exploring. My connection with bats was immediate, due in part, no doubt to the bats themselves but also through the enthusiasm expressed in them by that first BELCAST ecology class.

A long time has passed since then, filled primarily with a wide assortment of biological adventures in North, South, and Central Americas, most of which have focused on the design and implementation of long-term studies, virtually all of which typically involved diverse data collection methods to address a wide spectrum of vertebrate orders (and thus an even broader array of species). Virtually all of these have included visual and acoustic bat surveys. Our non-profit, now based in Paso Robles (aka THE California wine country) – and in keeping with our mission to not only conserve protected animal species but to also help design preserves and manage conservation lands, including establishing conservation easements over ranch and rangelands – has embarked on the Central Coast Bat Survey, a long-term study of the distributions and ecological associations of bats on California’s Central Coast and in particular, San Luis Obispo , northern Santa Barbara and southern Monterey counties.

Adopting component survey methods from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service’s North American Bat Monitoring Program, which was designed to promote effective conservation decision-making and the long-term viability of bat populations across the continent, our bat survey will focus generally on species occurrences, their distributions, and ecological associations and also on the relationships between bats and diverse agricultural practices in the Central Coast region. Our public image – addressing why bats are important to all of us – includes education programs aimed at primary and secondary school students; bat box building events with local non-profit organizations (schools, Boys & Girls clubs, and other youth-based groups); citizen science-based data collection; and presentations to agricultural groups that focus on the important of bats to sustainable agriculture. Our ultimate goal is to establish, at minimum locally, a standard for and recognition of the “Bat-friendly Community.”

Position Duties


Director

Duties of a director include,

  • meet at such times and places as required by the Bylaws including participation in WBWG conference calls;
  • act as liaison and facilitate communication between WBWG and members of their respective state or province (e.g., solicit feedback from members when voting on WBWG issues);
  • provide summary report(s) of bat-related activity in their respective state or province for inclusion in WBWG Newsletters;
  • Assist the Board of Directors and Officers in carrying out the work of the WBWG.

Time required is approximately 5-10 hours per month.

President

Duties of the president include,

  • supervises and controls the affairs of WBWG and the activities of the Officers, subject to the control of the Board of Directors;
  • presides at all meetings of the Board of Directors and meetings of the members;
  • maintains the Action Plan and facilities implementation of the Action Plan;
  • signs contracts for WBWG meetings; and
  • serves as primary signatory, representative, and liaison for WBWG.

Time required is approximately 15-25 hours per month.

Vice President

Duties of the vice president include,

  • perform all duties of the President in the absence of the President, or in the event of his or her inability or refusal to act; and
  • assist the President in carrying out the work of the WBWG by completing tasks assigned by the President or Board of Directors.

Time required is approximately 10-15 hours per month.

Secretary

Duties of the secretary include,

          • certify and keep the original, or a copy, of the Bylaws as amended or otherwise altered to date;
          • maintain a record of all formal communications and a book of minutes of all meetings of the Board of Directors and Officers including time and place held, attendees, and proceedings (this includes securing edits for meeting notes and submitting them to the webmaster within 5 days following the meeting);
          • maintain and update regularly a membership book containing names and addresses of members, and distribute membership rolls to Directors of each state or province at least every 6 months;
          • assist with writing and disseminating letters on behalf of WBWG;
          • serve on the Membership Committee; and
          • conduct roll call for meetings of the Board of Directors.

Time required is approximately 10-15 hours per month.

Treasurer

Duties of the treasurer include,

            • have charge and custody of, and be responsible for, all funds and securities of WBWG;
            • receive, and give receipt for, monies due and payable to WBWG from any source;
            • disburse, or cause to be disbursed, WBWG funds as may be directed by the Board of Directors;
            • keep and maintain adequate and correct accounts of WBWG’s business transactions;
            • provide an annual report to the Board of Directors on the financial status of the corporation;
            • render to the President and Directors, whenever requested, an account of any or all of his or her transactions as Treasurer and of the financial condition of WBWG
            • prepare and certify the financial statements to be included in any required reports; and
            • annually update the non-profit status of WBWG.

Time required is approximately 10-15 hours per month.

    At-large Representatives

    Duties of at-large representatives include,

              • participate in meetings of Board of Directors and Officers including conference calls; and
              • Assist the Board of Directors and Officers in carrying out the work of the WBWG.

    Time required is approximately 10 hours per month.

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