When I was a kid, my family’s 1920s era home had a bit of a bat problem. Consequently, I developed something of a phobia concerning bats.
But one evening as an adult I had a sort of eureka moment. Watching a bat catch the insects swarming around a light in the parking lot of WRLS in Hayward, I gained an appreciation for what amazing little creatures they really are.
Dave Redell shared that amazement. Redell, an ecologist with the state Department of Natiral Resources, was keenly interested in bats – and sounded the alarm about the danger posed by White Nose Syndrome. Through the Wisconsin Bat Monitoring Program, Redell and other researchers tracked the health of the state’s bat populations. Redell even organzed the Wisconsin Bat Festival held in Madison earlier this year.
Dave Redell was battling brain cancer, but his commitment to his work didn’t stop. Last month Redell was given the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s highest award in recognition of his efforts. Dave died Monday at age 42, a tremendous loss to his family, to the DNR and to people who shared his passion for Wisconsin’s wildlife. Donations in Redell’s name can be made to the state Natural Resources Foundation.