A visit to the Bat Conservation Trust

Authored by Sarah Bell

Part of this project’s focus is about learning how nature-based organisations are already making their experiences inclusive for people with visual impairments.

To kick this process off, I recently met with Lisa Worledge, Head of Conservation Services at the Bat Conservation Trust, a charity dedicated to the conservation of bats and the landscapes they rely on.

The charity organises a range of activities designed to inspire and engage people and communities in their work. As part of this, they ran a four-year ‘Count the Bat’ inclusive conservation project from 2008 to 2012, involving over 20,000 new people in their conservation efforts. The project was particularly keen to reach out to people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience bats, including people living with hearing or visual impairments. 

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Bat Conservation Trust put together a range of resources designed to enable and encourage people to organise bat walks and activities that are accessible to visually impaired people (VIPs). 

These can be downloaded in pdf formats online and for more screen reader-friendly formats, some of the documents can be requested directly by emailing Lisa Worledge via enquiries@bats.org.uk

Building on this project, Lisa emphasised the importance of sustaining the inclusivity of their events and activities over the long-term. As an example, she highlighted the first ever Deaf-led bat walk that was organised last year by Alasdair Grant, Deaf Alumni Programme Manager for Deaf Unity, using a range of devices that allowed the attendants to view live sonograms on an iPad during the walk.

Lisa is keen to encourage people to organise or join a local bat walk - if you’d like to take part you can contact your local bat group for a chat about how best to tune into the unique acoustic signatures of different bat species in your local area.