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Professor offers local children batty stories, crafts, fun facts

Christine Portfors holding a tropical fruit bat from “the bat
lab” research facility.
Vancouver – Christine Portfors, associate professor of biology at WSU Vancouver, will give her sixth annual presentation on bats from 4 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 26 in the Administration building, Room 110.
 
At a time of year when bats are often portrayed as blood-sucking, vicious animals, local families will have a chance to see live bats up close, and learn why bats are largely misunderstood.
 
“This year will really focus on children,” said Portfors. “In addition to talking about and looking at real bats, I will read a short story about bats and we’ll do some bat crafts. I think adults will enjoy the talk, too, and even some of the crafts.” 
 
In the presentation, Portfors dispels popular folklore while showing the beneficial role bats play in nature managing insect pests, pollinating plants and dispersing seeds. She shows pictures of different bats, as well as a few of her captive tropical fruit bats.
 
“Many people want to get rid of bats and consequently, certain species are becoming endangered,” she said. “These misunderstood animals need to be understood in order to protect them. My role as a scientist is to help educate the public about their importance, and kids especially have a lot of fun coming to see the live bats.”
 
Portfors is a biologist and neurobiologist who has studied bats in the wild and in the lab for more than 10 years. For more information on her research, visit her Web site, “The Bat Lab,” at http://www.vancouver.wsu.edu/fac/portfors/portfors_home.html .
 
The event is free, open to the public, and family-friendly.

 

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