Austin Bat Education Program

Spectators at Congress Ave bridge
Spectators enjoy watching the Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from under the
Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, TX. Credit: MerlinTuttle.com

Every year BCI and our volunteers spend summer nights at the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, educating the 140,000+ visitors about the biology, behaviour, value, and history of Austin’s famous bats. Our volunteer educators are the key to the success of this program—they are bat ambassadors, answering questions from the public and spreading the conservation message.

The program runs from April through September and BCI’s volunteer educators assist staff in running an education booth at the bridge on Friday nights (and occasionally other nights) throughout the summer. Shifts run from 2 to 3 hours each night, starting at 7 and lasting until the bats have emerged for their nightly meal of insects—lots and lots of insects (up to 10 tons nightly)!

Becoming a BCI volunteer educator is easy. Each spring, usually in March, we host two training sessions for new and returning volunteers—attendance is required at only one. We will teach you all you need to know about the history and biology of Austin’s iconic Mexican free-tailed bats, and give you plenty of resources to study on your own. You will also get the chance to meet a live Mexican free-tailed bat (a volunteer, just like you!).

Volunteer docents
BCI volunteers Don Bergquist (left) and Lee Mackenzie (right) help
educate visitors about Austin's Mexican free-tailed bats.
Credit: Edith Bergquist

Next year’s training sessions will be announced in January 2018. Next year’s training sessions will be announced in January 2018, but if you still want to join us this summer, but couldn’t come to our training sessions, we will still find a way to give you the information you need! Email Danielle O'Neil at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .