texasBatsBatFrom 1990-2007, The Lively Foundation presented BAT TALES! annually in San Francisco and around the Bay Area. The program included premiere dances, theatre, original songs–all about bats. Most were based on legends about bats from many cultures; some based on legends we made up. Lucy & the Count: the Bat Ballet was choreographed for music by award winning composer, Jon Deak; Mine Bat, a two part solo dance was set to a story by Leslie Friedman and music by English composer Jonathan Harvey. Mine Bat was based on an article written by famed nature writer, William Stolzenburg. The article appeared in Nature Conservancy, the magazine of the international organization, the Nature Conservancy. Mr. Stolzenburg then wrote about Ms Friedman’s dance and story in another Nature Conservancy article. “At the time I first presented Lucy & the Count, with the Bat being the hero, no one paid any attention to bats. The whole program might have been considered wildly eccentric. Bats were only thought of as scary creatures getting caught in some lady’s hair,” says choreographer, Ms Friedman, “but now there is more consciousness of their beauty and their enormous contributions to human well being.” Lively’s annual performances contributed to the raising of that consciousness. Here’s the good news for all of us and especially for the bats: Bat Conservation International (based in Austin, TX) and The Nature Conservancy have managed to buy more than 1500 acres adjacent to Bracken Cave, near San Antonio. That land was going to be developed into many, many houses and other structures which would have meant curtains for the bats in Bracken Cave, home to the world’s largest population of Mexican Free-tailed bats. Millions of bats fly out of the cave at night to hunt insects. The bats are the most efficient pest control in the world. In the summer, the Bracken bats eat 140 TONS of insects EACH NIGHT. Throughout the US, bats save farmers about $23 billion in crop damage and reduced pesticide use. Three cheers for BCI, the Nature Conservancy and the BATS!!! It’s the best Halloween treat of all. Pictures courtesy BCI: Bats emerging from Bracken Cave, a bat visiting an agave. see also:  and  and   and  and