Wildflower Pilgrimage Speakers

Dr. Merlin Tuttle

Dr. Merlin Tuttle is a resident of Austin, Texas. He is an internationally recognized leader in research, conservation and photography of bats. His photos and research have been featured in five National Geographic articles, the journal Science, and many other leading publications. He founded and led Bat Conservation International for nearly 30 years, left BCI, then founded Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation (MTBC) in 2014 where he is now active. 

Through MTBC Dr. Tuttle continues to provide the world’s finest bat photo gallery and the most up-to-date responses to grossly exaggerated disease speculation about bats. This is also the only place to access his more than 60 years of unique expertise or support his work. At age 80, he is still passionately teaching the world to understand and appreciate the vital roles of bats. Since founding MTBC, he has continued his worldwide efforts from Brunei, Bulgaria, and Cambodia, to Taiwan, and Thailand, and from Brazil, Chile, and the Vatican, to South Africa. 

His first book, America’s Neighborhood Bats, published in 1988, played a key role putting unfounded fear in perspective and in outlawing the then widespread poisoning of American bats living in buildings. His inspiring autobiography, The Secret Lives of Bats: My Adventures with the World’s Most Misunderstood Mammals, was published in 2018, with top reviews, including from The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker and National Geographic. And in 2019, he served as science editor and sole photographer for the Smithsonian book, BATS: An illustrated guide to all species. He also serves as a Research Fellow in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin and still takes approximately a thousand new photos annually. 

Through Tuttle’s personal efforts, many of our planet’s most important bat colonies are now protected, including the world famous colony of approximately 1.5 million Brazilian free-tailed bats in Austin, Texas. Like bats or not, you will after learning what Dr. Tuttle has to share about these mysterious but magical animals. To learn more and support his work visit MerlinTuttle.org. 

Erin Hazelton

Erin Hazelton joined the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife in 2017 as a wildlife administrator where she contributes to a variety of projects including reviewing effects of wind energy development on wildlife and coordinating endangered species research. She pursued her love of the natural sciences at Wittenberg University and Miami University, both in Ohio. Her career as a public servant has been diverse and rewarding, from cave researcher for the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves to overseeing environmental remediation loans at the Ohio Development Services Agency. In her free time, Erin enjoys spending time outdoors and raising livestock on her farm in Perry County.

Manon VanSchoyck

Manon VanSchoyck, or Mrs. Van to most, is the Founder & Executive Director of Ohio Nature Education. Manon has worked in the field of environmental education for more than 30 years and is passionate about educating people on how we can positively affect wildlife. She is an avid birdwatcher and also enjoys gardening and cooking.