• Bat Blitzes

Bankhead National Forest–Alabama

August 1-5, 2022

Are you coming to the Bat Blitz? 

Please visit the 2022 Participant Guide and schedule here:  

2022 Bat Blitz Participant Guide_Version_20220728

The Southeastern Bat Diversity Network is proud to present this year’s Bat Blitz, to be held August 1-5, 2022. at the Bankhead National Forest in northern Alabama. This year we return to the beautiful Bankhead National Forest in Alabama, site of the 2008 SBDN Bat Blitz. This is a very special occasion. We look forward to reuniting with familiar faces as we reboot Bat Blitz in the post-COVID era. The Alabama Bat Working Group will celebrate 20 years of Bat Blitzes, and by replicating the 2008 Blitz, we will collect post-WNS data to compare with the pre-WNS data.

We anticipate approximately 100 bat biologists, wildlife professionals, and volunteers to attend.

Blitz Headquarters/Housing/Meals

Camp McDowell

105 Delong Rd, Nauvoo, AL 35578

34.014718, -87.362365


Camp McDowell is a ministry of the Episcopal Churches in the Diocese of Alabama and is open to all. It is one of the largest Episcopal Camp and Conference Centers in the US. It began in 1923 and was relocated to the Southern portion of the Bankhead National Forest in Winston County, Alabama in 1947. Like the Bankhead, it consists of breathtaking canyons, waterfalls and forests, and is known as the Beautiful Queen of Clear Creek. Camp McDowell has a wonderful culture of welcoming acceptance and has established a reputation for being an outstanding destination built upon simple elegance and attention to service and enjoyment. McDowell offers Summer Camp, Special Sessions, the McDowell Conference Center, the Alabama Folk School, the McDowell Environmental Center and the McDowell Farm School. We expect a lovely time at Wonderful Wonderful Camp McDowell.
Sleeping arrangements –Unless you pay for a single room, limited to a handful and on a first come-first served basis, all rooms are double occupancy and you should expect to be sharing a room. If you have a roommate preference, indicate so on the registration form, and we will do our best to accommodate. Two different housing areas will be used during the blitz, Miller Commons and Stough Lodge. The facilities of the Camp are great. Motel style rooms are air conditioned and each room has two beds. We will make every accommodation possible to give you your room preference. Linens are provided.

Human and Wildlife Safety

We are taking steps to ensure this is a safe and inclusive event. The safety of Blitz participants AND wildlife is of paramount importance. Based on our survey of SBDN members, we’ve taken numerous steps to ensure we meet under and follow the most responsible principals when working with wildlife and engaging in group activities.  We anticipate that all SBDN participants will be up-to-date with vaccinations.  However, as with any large activity, Blitz participants should be aware that members of the public, support staff and others encountered during the blitz may not be up-to-date with vaccinations and, in many cases, employers may not be able to ask about vaccination status.

  • SARS Cov-2/Covid-19 VaccinationsOur Blitz is a vaccination-only event for SBDN participants.  We are following the most recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance that recommends that all Blitz participants are up-to-date on Covid-19 vaccinations.  In general, up-to-date is defined as receiving two doses of the primary vaccination series AND one booster when eligible.  For more information on your vaccination status, please visit the CDC’s website here: Stay Up to Date with Your Covid-19 Vaccine
  • Rapid Covid-19 Antigen Testing Prior to Arrival:  We ask that all participants take a rapid Covid-9 test within 24-hours of arriving at Blitz headquarters and provide photographic proof of a negative test.  You can receive free rapid tests through the U.S. Government/US Postal Service.  Visit this link to get tests mailed to your door: Get your Free Rapid Covid Tests
  • Feeling Ill at the Blitz:  We will have a limited number of rapid tests available at Blitz headquarters.  If you test positive, we have budgeted and reserved a small number of single-occupancy isolation/quarantine rooms within Stough Lodge.  We will also strive to perform thorough contact tracing regarding potential exposures.
  • N-95 Valve-free Masking:  All participants within six feet of bats are required to wear an N-95 mask. Masks will be provided for field work. We strongly encourage all participants to also wear masks when traveling with others to field locations.
  • Rabies Vaccinations and Titer Status: All handlers of wildlife must be fully vaccinated with the rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis series and have a current (within 2 years) rabies antibody titer check prior to arriving at Blitz headquarters.  A serology report must determine that wildlife handlers meet World Health Organization rabies virus neutralizing antibodies standard of ≥ 0.5 International Units per milliliter (0.5 IU/ML) or complete neutralization at a serum dilution in the 1:5 serum dilution Rapid Fluorescent Foci Inhibition Test (RFFIT). We ask that all wildlife handlers present proof of their rabies vaccination or titer-check status.
  • White-nose Syndrome:  The Bankhead National Forest is within a WNS-endemic zone.

Coarse Blitz Schedule (all times in central daylight time)

A more comprehensive 2022 Bat Blitz Participant Guide, with a full-schedule is coming soon!

  • Monday, August 1, 2022 (if staying on Monday evening please arrive by 6:00 P.M.)
    • Check-in/Registration: 3:00-6:00 P.M.
    • Public Education Event: 3:00-6:00 P.M.
    • Group Social Event: 6:30-9:30 P.M.
  • Tuesday, August 2, 2022
    • Mandatory Team Leader Meeting: 12:00-1:00 P.M.
    • Mandatory All-Participant Meeting: 1:00-2:00 P.M.
    • Breakfast, Lunch and field box dinner provided
    • Mist netting on the Bankhead National Forest and return to headquarters by 2:00 A.M.
  • Wednesday, August 3, 2022
    • Breakfast, Lunch and field box dinner provided
    • Mist netting on the Bankhead National Forest and return to headquarters by 2:00 A.M.
  • Thursday, August 4, 2022
    • Breakfast, Lunch and field box dinner provided
    • Mist netting on the Bankhead National Forest and return to headquarters by 2:00 A.M.
    • Decontamination of Gear for Night-Owls
  • Friday, August 5, 2022
    • Decontamination of Gear for Early-Risers
    • Farewell Breakfast, Awards
    • Check-out and departure: 12:00 P.M.

Team Leaders Needed

Please contact our local host committee by email or phone if you would like to be considered as a team leader.  Team leaders should have adequate qualifications to: (1) safely handle and identify local and protected bat species; (2), manage a field crew with varying experience levels; and (3) have all equipment and materials for operating a mist net site comprising 2-3 net set-ups.

Registration Fees

  • Regular Registration (Double-occupancy room with roommate): $100
  • Student Registration: $50
  • T-shirts: $20

Currently, we have 31 participants registered! (Updated 06/03/2022)

If you have any questions, please contact the Host Committee:

Bat Blitz FAQs

A Bat Blitz is a coordinated, intensive survey designed to sample the bat community in an extensive area. In just 2-3 days, volunteers at a Bat Blitz can accomplish what a small field crew could do in an entire season. These events generally involve a substantial, voluntary contribution of time and materials from bat experts. Amount of effort exerted and data collected during a Bat Blitz can be greater than what a single biologist could accomplish in an entire season. Read participation summaries and see what a Blitz can do for your agency.

Anyone is welcome to attend a Bat Blitz. Attendees with valid rabies vaccinations and prior bat experience will be able to handle bats under the supervision of Blitz team leaders. All others are welcome to observe bats and the batty biologists that study them!

A Blitz is an efficient and fun way to provide land managers with limited information on local bat communities. Because many agencies/organizations either do not have bat experts on staff or have limited access to such expertise, obtaining information on local bat communities can be difficult. With information from a Bat Blitz, land managers will be better equipped to consider the needs of bats in land management planning efforts.

If you manage a large area of public or private land and need more information on the bat community, then you may have a good site for a Bat Blitz. It is important to consider if it is feasible to use volunteer biologists to survey the area, if you have enough time to properly plan the event, and if you have sufficient funding to cover lodging, food, and other basics. It is much easier for a team of people to organize a Blitz, so you should find at least two other people who can help with fundraising and logistics.

Most blitzes have been focused on public lands, but any sizeable area (e.g., Forest Service district, state and federal game lands and parks, National Wildlife Refuges) that needs a basic bat survey then Bat Blitz is a candidate for an sbdn sponsored Bat Blitz. The sbdnis most interested in sponsoring blitzes in areas where few or no bat surveys have been conducted in the past. One major consideration for the success of a Blitz is the availability of housing sufficient for a group of 50-100 adults that is within one hour of most survey areas.

Traditionally, sbdn-sponsored blitzes have been held in late July or early August to encourage student and professional participation and to allow for comparisons between bat blitzes. If you would like the Bat Blitz to be held at an alternative time, you should be prepared to provide sound justification to sbdn. The “preferred” schedule for Blitzes is Tuesday-Thursday (trapping nights). Beginning a Blitz on Monday means Sunday travel which may be problematic for some due to personal and professional constraints.

Hosting a Bat Blitz is a very labor intensive, time consuming effort, but it can be well worth your time if properly planned. While a Bat Blitz can theoretically be hosted by anyone, involvement of sbdn as a sponsor can greatly enhance participation and notability of the event. To help ensure that these Blitzes maintain a level of quality control and continuity, sbdn has prepared an information packet to supplement our advisory role by providing: (1) guidelines, (2) requirements and (3) a timeline to assist planning relative to what will be expected from you.

The sbdn Bat Blitz Committee (see list below) is happy to discuss potential Blitz sites and will select a Blitz site each year approximately 18 months prior to the event. We require a brief proposal from potential hosts outlining basics such as funding, housing, food survey sites, and goals of the Blitz. Prior to submitting a bid for a sbdn-sponsored Blitz, a team 2-3 people should investigate survey potential, funding, and housing in the area of interest. The local host Blitz team must demonstrate that their agency or organization fully supports the effort and will allow the local team the resources and time to prepare for the event. If you would like more information on hosting a sbdn sponsored Bat Blitz, please contact one of the Bat Blitz Committee members.

The 2022 SBDN Guidelines for hosting a Bat Blitz can be found here.

Bat Blitz Committee

  • Past Blitzes