Poor public attitudes towards flying foxes, and habitat loss, are the root causes of many problems facing bat conservation. In our experience, most people who meet a flying fox up close and personal are captivated by their intelligence, curiosity and personality.
Our early education work was in the community with children through such programs as National Parks Volunteers and TREAT on TAP, as well as various community events such as World Environment Day and the Yungaburra Folk Festival.
Our main work now though is with schools through the Tinaroo Environmental Education Centre. Schools from all over Far North Queensland use the Centre, and those camping overnight are given the opportunity for a bat talk in the evening. We take live bats, a microbat and flying fox, show a short film about the work of the bat hospital and talk to a powerpoint presentation. We also give talks to younger students there for a day program called Wildlife Wonderland.
The opening of the Visitor Centre in 2009 has boosted our capacity to provide educational programs for a broader community of local residents, students and tourists. Tertiary student groups include those from a range of univserities from around the world.