During the annual meeting in Louisville I was presented the 2011 SBDN Achievement Award. I was beyond surprised and cherish this award more than any other I received during my career and involvement with bats. I thank the awards committee, my nominators, whomever they were, and my good friend Dennis Krusac for reading the presentation materials at the award ceremony. Bats and my participation in SBDN have allowed me to make many lifelong friends and to work in the field and share a cold beer with them and many memorable characters that have been the icing on the cake of my life. I can’t quite remember what I said upon receiving this award but wanted to acknowledge one person that I know I failed to mention, not because I didn’t want to but because that blur thingy set in due to being caught completely off-guard.
In 1972 I was a sophomore at The University of Arkansas at Little Rock where I had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of and take classes under mammalogist Dr. Gary Heidt. Taking his class,”Natural History of the Vertebrates” opened my eyes to a world of animals I had never experienced and lit a fire of curiosity in me that has never dimmed. Gary included me on a long-term flying squirrel project that introduced me to fieldwork and he always took time for field trips during this class, Mammalogy, and Advanced Field Biology where we studied animals in New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Gary also was the person who encouraged me to attend graduate school at Arkansas State University that led to a thesis on gray bats under Dr. Rick McDaniel which eventually led to my career as a biologist with the United States Forest Service. I had a wonderful, long (34.5 years), enriching experience working for the Forest Service from where I retired last December. I am quite certain that without Dr. Heidt’s friendship and guidance many of the wonderful things I have seen and experienced would have never happened. I often turn and look back down the road of my life and career and remind myself how fortunate I have been thanks to this friend and mentor. Therefore, I dedicate my SBDN Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Gary Heidt without whom I might have never explored the wonderful world of bats.