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 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 18 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 led BCI’s efforts on both white-nose syndrome and North America’s threatened and endangered bat species.  Taking a holistic approach, I identified needs and implemented conservation projects that spanned geopolitical and international borders.  Today, I am the Director of Conservation for the Oklahoma Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. I lead an impressive team of conservationists protecting critical habitat and leading the world on conservation priorities.  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 traveling, I run marathons, garden, read and create colorful art for my backyard oasis in Tulsa, OK.

Presidential Appointee | Krysta Demere

I was introduced to the world of bat conservation and the study of their natural history as an undergraduate student of Angelo State University in 2011.  Since that time I have had the privilege of working with bats across the western United States, including projects in Texas, Arizona, Wyoming, and California.  In 2013 and 2016, respectively, I earned my B.S. in Biology and Psychology and M.S. in Biology from Angelo State University under the guidance of Dr. Loren K. Ammerman. My graduate research investigated the diet of the canyon bat, Parastrellus hesperus, in the desert ecosystem of Big Bend National Park, TX through means of molecular analysis and sought to answer questions regarding dietary composition while investigating the potential for diet to vary across sex and age-classes.  Upon graduating I became a Research Associate with Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute where my initial research efforts focused on establishing baseline data on species composition, distribution, and abundance of bats over-wintering in Texas prior to the arrival of WNS.  My current research collaboration is directed toward the ecological monitoring of military lands and conducting baseline biological surveys to ensure compliance with environmental policies.
In addition to being a member of the Western Bat Working Group, I have been a member of the Texas Society of Mammalogist since 2012 and have been serving as the acting artist for the society since 2018. I am also a member of the Southwestern Association of Naturalist (2015), Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society (2016), and North American Society of Bat Research (2014).

Vice President | 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.

Secretary | Shannon Hilty

I have been involved in nongame wildlife research for the past 12 years.  I am currently a graduate student in the Ecology Department at Montana State University, Bozeman, where I am examining the effects of mountain pine beetle on foraging and roosting bats in western forests.  I received my B.A. in Ecology at the University of Montana, Missoula in 2009. While at UM, I studied a wide range of mammals from pikas to porcupines and was introduced to 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 amphibians, small mammals, and bats.  In 2013, I was fortunate enough 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. 

I have been a Western Bat Working Group member since 2013 and one of two At-Large Representatives since 2016.  I am currently working with other WBWG members to plan the 2019 Biennial Workshop and Meeting to take place in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I am organized, have an extremely hard work ethic, and truly enjoy collaborating with other people and groups, something that is necessary when addressing conservation issues on a large scale.  I am passionate about bat conservation and excited to be the Secretary for WBWG.

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 | Dan Neubaum

I earned a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology at Colorado State University, followed by several years of working on field studies throughout the western United States and Australia with bats, toads, beaver, and Tasmanian devils.  I returned to earn a Master’s of Science at CSU where my graduate work focused on the roost ecology of big brown bats using summer maternity roosts in anthropogenic structures and winter hibernacula in rock crevices.  I spent eight years as a Research Associate working on bats, beaver, and greater sage-grouse with the U. S. Geological Survey Fort Collins Science Center.  In 2008, I moved to Grand Junction, CO where I now work with Colorado Parks and Wildlife as a Wildlife Conservation Biologist, focusing on bats, sage-grouse, river otters and other species of conservation concern.   I have worked with bats for 20 years covering a number of aspects including roosting ecology, disease transmission, species inventory and monitoring, education, and conservation.  I currently serve as the Chair of the Colorado Bat Working Group, assisted with the creation of the Colorado Bat Matrix, and served as an editor and author of the 2018 revision of the Colorado Bat Conservation Plan.  I am married to a bat biologist and have two grade school boys that have seen a spotted bat up close.  This family loves its bats!  I am running for the At-Large Representative as I would like to serve on the Western Bat Working Group board to gain insight into how it functions, and to contribute further to a group that has done much to advance bat conservation across western North America.

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


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.


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.


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.


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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