National Science Week at the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History took place in August 2017 this year. Each day the venue was filled with hundreds of buzzing young minds eager to learn new things, as learners from the surrounding Pretoria area came to view the various scientific exhibitions that was on offer. Amongst those, the AfricanBats exhibition was one of the main attractions. Staff from AfricanBats and students from the University of Pretoria (Centre for Wildlife Management) treated learners to a fun and insightful talk on basic bat biology, including topics such as diet, roosting behaviour and dispelling common misconceptions. Learners were given the opportunity to ask questions, and surprised us with questions like “how do species form?” as well as “how do bats mate?” We engaged learners with an interactive game using essential oils in little bottles, which taught them that bat mothers use smell to identify their offspring from amongst thousands of other bat babies at a roost. It is pleasing to see budding biologists in the making and it was as much fun for us as it was for the learners. In addition to the talk, learners got to view preserved specimens up close in glass jars. For many this was an amazing experience, as it was the first time they had ever seen bats this close. Overall, the exhibition was a worthwhile effort to increase awareness about these flying mammals and most importantly, inspire potential young biologists.

Special thanks to the team: Ernest Seamark, Teresa Kearney, Emily Kudze, Monique Shanahan, Tedson Nkoana, and Mariëtte Pretorius.

We would like to thank the following organizations for making this possible:

View some images from this event: