Notes from the Field—Getting Students Excited About Bats

“That is sooo cool!” is what science educators love to hear—that moment of connection when a student gets excited about learning. Liz Mock-Murphy, a high school science teacher in Greeley, Colorado, watched that moment unfold when she played echolocation recordings for her students this fall. Liz had been experimenting with the Echo Meter Touch, a bioacoustics monitoring system that records bat echolocations and identifies the bat species based on that recording. She had collected recordings over three nights with her students allowing them to hear and see bats in their native environment. Playing the echolocation recordings back to all of the students in class allowed Liz to open their eyes to an invisible world that they were unaware of. And it’s created a memorable connection between students and wildlife.

Liz purchased the Echo Meter Touch with proceeds from a local Caring For Your Watershed competition in which students submitted a plan to encourage Greeley to stop using harmful pesticides and to install bat houses. The students won 3rd place and the school was awarded funds to use as they pleased. Liz saw an opportunity to reinforce the students’ interest in bats and to deepen that connection.

The science of investigating animal sound production, dispersion and reception, or bioacoustics, allows researchers to understand animal communication and monitor the health of wildlife. Bioacoustics monitoring also helps researchers understand the effect of human activity on wildlife, particularly among animals that are harder to observe. Teachers like Liz can give students an understanding of real-world research and local wildlife using bioacoustics-monitoring devices. Teachers and students can even collect data for scientists and be part of national Citizen Science projects, giving students an even more meaningful experience.

The Echo Meter Touch is offered by Wildlife Acoustics, a provider of bioacoustics recorders and analysis software. Bioacoustics monitoring devices are available not only for bats but also for birds, land animals and marine life. To learn more about bioacoustics monitoring devices, visit


Echo Meter Touch on a Bat Walk from Save the Bats on Vimeo.

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