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February 26, 2008

Bat Researcher Earns First Critter Catchers, Inc. Scholarship

Indiana State University student to use award to better-understand the only mammal capable of flight

Terre Haute, Ind. — Founded to humanely and safely relocate wayward wildlife, Critter Catchers, Inc., recently played a key role in helping ensure that the world’s sole true flying mammals — bats — won’t face any challenges in finding perfect bat-friendly dwellings in the great outdoors. The southeastern Michigan-based wildlife and bat removal firm, working in conjunction with the Indiana State University Center for North American Bat Research (the Bat Center) and the Organization for Bat Conservation, awarded the center’s first-ever annual scholarship — a $1,000 prize to ISU biology major and Masters Degree candidate Laura Hohman.

“There were three promising scholarship applications, but we felt that Laura’s proposal was the most relevant for this scholarship,” said John Whitaker, Jr., professor, Ecology and Organismal Biology at Indiana State University.

Hohman, a bat rehabilitator and instructor for the National Cave Rescue Commission, will apply the scholarship towards her mission to strengthen bat conservation efforts. Specifically, Hohman’s research will:

Raise public interest and awareness in bat houses, through education efforts. This initiative focuses on working closely with local media representatives to expand awareness of existing bat houses, while also encouraging homeowners to erect new bat houses.
Determine which species of bats are most likely to utilize bat houses in Indiana.
Identify what styles of bat houses are most successful.
Evaluate various criteria, including direction, mounting surfaces, and height above ground-level, to provide insights into what makes a bat house most-appealing.

“Supporting research projects and other educational programs is a natural choice for Critter Catchers, Inc.,” said David Kugler, founder of the company. “Laura’s research will identify which key aspects make a bat house most appealing. By successfully installing a bat house, one can provide additional habitat for this critical member of the ecosystem. Bats are vital to control nuisance insect populations. I’m eager to learn from Laura’s research and communicate the results to our customers.”

About the Indiana State University Center for North American Bat Research

Founded in 2005, the Bat Center’s mission is to conduct and encourage basic and applied research on North American bats, by collaborating with students and other scientists, and to make findings available to the scientific community and the public through technical and popular publications, teaching and outreach programs.

About Critter Catchers, Inc.

Founded in 2005, the Ortonville, Mich.-based Critter Catchers, Inc. was formed by David Kugler, an Oakland University graduate holding a Bachelors of Science in Biology, and a Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering from Wayne State University. For more information, and to review reports from scholarship recipients at the end of the scholarship period.

Critter Catchers, Inc.
P.O. Box 312, Lake Orion, MI 48361
(248) 432-2712

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