In 1996 the Fifth Colloquium on the Conservation of Mammals in the Southeastern United States met jointly with the newly formed Southeastern Bat Diversity Network. This first SBDN meeting was “chaired” by Mary Kay Clark who had been the driving force to create this new organization devoted to the study and conservation of bats in the Southeast. Due to the informal nature of the organization Mary Kay was fondly named “Dictator for Life”, a position she held for many years until SBDN required more formal structure.
Since those days, Mary Kay has continued to devote much time and energy to SBDN while serving on various committees and in numerous positions including Steering Committee Chair, SBDN President, Board Member and Bat Blitz Committee Chair. Mary Kay was a member of the local committee that organized and hosted the 2004 North Carolina SBDN Bat Blitz and has participated as a team leader in every Blitz hosted by SBDN. She also helped organize the Big-eared Bat Group within SBDN which resulted in the Big-eared Bat Symposium held at the University of Georgia in March 2010. A graduate of Campbell University (BS) and North Carolina State University (MS) Mary Kay worked for 28 years as Curator of Mammals at the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences. She also served as the Southeastern Bat Conservation Director, a position jointly sponsored by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and SBDN.
Mary Kay was presented a Service Award by President Darren Miller (see photo) on February 18, 2010 during SBDN’s 15th annual meeting held in Asheville, North Carolina. The award reads “For your role as the founding force behind SBDN and your continued dedication and contributions to the organization.” Appropriately, the award features a beautiful photograph of Rafinesque’s big-eared bat