Last year I was asked to start working on a special fundraising project: a zine about bats to help raise awareness about the plight of bats worldwide.
The Story: Oracle Natural Science was given a box of old-stock bat skulls. Bat populations are endangered and there is no way to ethically or sustainably source bat parts (no matter what a given retailer or website may try to indicate, you can read more about why this is the case in this article). So Oracle has decided to redirect all proceeds from the sales of these skulls to bat conservation and use this event to educate their customers about bats and how to help.
The Zine: I began working on writing and illustrating a zine for Oracle to accompany the fundraiser. I immersed myself in books, websites, podcasts, YouTube videos and social media feeds of various biologists, conservationists, and bat rehabilitation centers. And in the process I fell in love with bats! I truly did not expect to be completely converted into a bat lover. They are awe inspiring. And weird. And adorable. And intelligent. And just fascinating. There’s so much to learn about bats that I had trouble narrowing down what I wanted to include in the zine!
The zine is a 22-page booklet filled with facts, trivia, tips for what you can do to help protect bats, and 12 original black and white watercolor illustrations. I also included instructions for two practices to tap into the bat spirit. (Since Oracle’s motto is: Science is magic!) $2 from the sale of every zine will be donated to The Ukrainian Bat Rehabilitation Center.
Why Ukrainian Bat Rehabilitation Center: UBRC is located in Kharkiv, Ukraine and is the largest bat rehabilitation center in Europe. All of the bats in Ukraine are on the red-list endangered species. This organization of professional scientists have continued to work under extremely dangerous and heartbreaking circumstances of the war to continue their work in protecting bats. We chose this organization to donate to because funding will not only help conserve endangered bats (who are now also facing the dangers of living in a war zone disturbing their roosting spots and safety) but the humans caring for them who are working in extreme and serious risk. We felt that donating to this organization would have the most impact at this time.
What, When, Where: Oracle’s Bat Fundraiser will “go live” July 5th, 2022 at noon Kansas City time. There will be 12 fruit-bat skulls mounted in glass cylinders, 11 horse-shoe-bat skulls mounted in mini glass domes, and the “Magic of Bats” zine available for purchase. I suggest setting a reminder alert for the 5th if you are interested in purchasing any of the skulls… there aren’t many and Oracle will not be carrying them ongoing, this was an unusual circumstance of receiving old-stock. (Like I mentioned above… bat products CANNOT be sourced sustainably and harvesting bats has already led to population decline and extinction of some species.) On Tuesday, July 5th you can find the Bat Fundraiser listings under the New Additions section of Oracle’s online shop.