Discover Great Basin Bats with Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation

Rose Guano Cave, overlooking Spring Valley Wind Farm
Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation (MTBC) is partnering with Bat Survey Solutions, and colleagues at Great Basin National Park and the Nevada Division of Wildlife to bring a natural history and scientific discovery workshop featuring some of the most outstanding bat conservation and management examples in North America. In the foothills of the Snake Range of the Humboldt-Toyaibe National Forest, we will experience one of the best-kept "bat secrets" of the U.S. National Park Service. We will visit roosts of some of the most mega-charismatic bat species like scorpion-eating pallid bats, adorable Townsend's big eared bats, and migratory Mexican free-tailed bats. Here we will witness first-hand the cooperative management systems in place to conserve and protect these and other species in and around the Park. We will also get to experience all the natural and cultural significance that Great Basin National Park has to offer. Not only certified as an International Dark Sky Certified Place (IDSCP), the Park is also home to the oldest living organism on earth: the bristlecone pine tree. Our visit will allow us to stroll amongst these ancients while visiting alpine lakes near tree-line to encounter bats.


Dates: Thursday 1 August through Tuesday 6 August 2024


Join us for this one-of-a-kind trip into the field with the real-life Bat Man, Merlin D. Tuttle as he shares half-a-century of bat research and conservation. Activities include a private cave tour of Lehman Cave at the Park, a visit to a maternity colony of over 200 pallid bats in rural Utah, and a chance to participate in annual capture and monitoring of a transitory Mexican free-tailed bat roost, cooperatively managed by the Nevada Division of Wildlife and Great Basin National Park. This roost is located less than 1-mile as the bat flies from Pattern Energy's Spring Valley Wind Farm and is part of a sophisticated population monitoring effort designed to reduce or eliminate fatalities when bats are in residence. Merlin Tuttle was instrumental in guiding the bat management requirements when this wind farm was planned in the early 2000s. 

We will also be able to participate in a decades long PIT-tag monitoring project to discover the local movements of a population of several hundred Townsend's big-eared bats and learn how MOTUS towers are being used to follow bats that range throughout Nevada and the entire western U.S. We will spotlight and record bats at two crystal clear alpine lakes at over 10,000 feet, and then enjoy a 3-mile night hike through the mixed pine and aspen forest. Daytime lectures will acquaint us with some of the bat natural history in the area as well as feature the human history of the settlement of the Great Basin Desert.

Location and Directions: All of our food, lodging, and accommodations will be at the Hidden Canyon Retreat on the outskirts of Baker, NV. The nearest airports are Salt Lake City UT (4-hours, and 1 time-zone northeast), Las Vegas NV (5-hours south) or Reno NV (6-hours west). Attendees must make their own travel arrangements to meet the group at the Retreat. Registered participants will receive a map and driving directions and should plan their travel to arrive by 1pm on Day 1. All in-field transportation will be provided by the trip leaders.

Trip Leaders: This course is led by Merlin D. Tuttle Founder, Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation; Danielle Cordani, Conservation Projects Coordinator MTBC; Melissa Donnelly, Science Specialist MTBC; and Janet D. Tyburec, Bat Survey Solutions with assistance from our partners at Great Basin National Park and the Nevada Division of Wildlife. 

Pre-course Preparation: There is no prerequisite for this workshop. All backyard naturalists, educators, animal-lovers and anyone with an interest in learning more about bats and bat conservation are welcome to attend. Though the instruction and activities are geared towards adults, mature school-age children are welcome with an accompanying parent or guardian. The area around Baker is very rural with many dirt roads. High-clearance or AWD vehicles are recommended. Our activities will range from lowland desert habitats to alpine mountain peaks between 4,000 and 10,500 feet. Daytime temperatures can be in the mid to upper 90's while nighttime temperatures may be close to freezing. The leaders will provide complete information to all registered participants about how to prepare for the trip, including a suggested packing list, a complete trip itinerary and background information about each of our field venues.

Feel free to contact us any time if you have additional specific questions about the workshop or what to expect. 

How to Register: For more information about our daily activities, arranging meals for special diets, or to reserve a space go to our Registration Page.