The more Ken Bowman, founder and President of Bat Conservation of Wisconsin, Inc., learned about bats, the more he wanted to learn; More importantly, the more Ken Bowman learned about this mysterious flying mammal, the more he was compelled to share with his friends and colleagues. In 1991, the direction of Ken’s life would forever be changed when he became a member of Bat Conservation International. What was once considered a passing interest evolved into a driving fascination and love for these humble creatures.
In 1994, Ken found his partner in life, Barb, and with his help, she would come to enjoy bats as much as he. Together, in 1995, Ken and Barb attended a speech by Merlin Tuttle, founder of BCI, at Chicago’s Field Museum. It was official, they were captivated, there was no turning back.
In 1997, a visit to BCI’s headquarters in Austin Texas, as well as a visit to two caves where millions of Mexican free-tail bats live during summer months left Ken and Barb reeling. Texas was doing amazing things to promote and educate people on bats… could Ken and Barb bring this knowledge and education to Wisconsin?
In 1999 Ken and Barb made the commitment to start a Wisconsin group for bats. Their idea – to educate local school children about Wisconsin’s bats, and to dispel harmful myths about these peaceful animals. Later that year, through an internet bulletin board, Ken and his interests became know to Maureen Rowe, Wildlife Biologist to the Wisconsin DNR. After being invited to a statewide meeting on bats, it became apparent that the idea for a small local group had now turned into a statewide organization.
Over the next 6 months, Bat Conservation of Wisconsin Inc. became a non-profit incorporated organization and received 501c3 status from the IRS and the State of Wisconsin, which allows tax-deductible contributions. In November of 1999, the first memberships were received. Since then, Bat Conservation of Wisconsin has continued to grow, educating the public through various speaking engagements as well as an Educational Trunk program for Educators.