Organization for Bat Conservation

Organization for Bat Conservation Logo

Basic Information

Address: 39221 Woodward Ave P.O. Box 801 Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303
Phone Number: 248-645-3232
Fax Number: 248-645-3242
Director: Rob Mies, Kim Williams

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Organization for Bat Conservation

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Additional Information

Causes Served: Bat Conservation, Education, Environment
Background Check: Yes
Population Served: All ages
Ages for Volunteer: Minimum of 14 years old
Hours of Service: Varies
Minimum Hours Required: N/A
Days of Service: All
Mission Statement:

To preserve bats and their habitats through education, collaboration, and research. Further the advancement of science and education by aiding, encouraging, and participating in bat husbandry, wildlife management, education, public health, zoological associations, conservation, and habitat protection. Encourage people to reconnect with nature and actively participate in protecting bats and other wildlife locally and globally. Improve the quality of public education concerning wildlife, conservation, ecological and environmental concerns, and to promote a peaceful coexistence between bats and the public.

Philosophy/Belief Statement:

It is the mission of the Organization for Bat Conservation to promote bat conservation and to educate the public about the importance of bats and the necessity of protecting these valuable animals

Working toward that end OBC presents nearly 1500 live bat programs every year around the United States, and reaches over a quarter of a million people annually. OBC has the largest outreach program for bat conservation in North America. OBC also participates in environmental education events throughout the United States

OBC also support the efforts and further education of college age students through research opportunities and internships for young biologists entering the field.

Program History:

Our History

The Organization for Bat Conservation was founded by Rob Mies and Kim Williams in 1990 and was incorporated as a 501c(3) non-profit organization in 1997. OBC moved to the Scrapbook Institute of Science, from the Lansing area in the summer of 2002. At Scrapbook Institute of Science OBC opened the “Bat Zone,” Michigan’s only public display of bats.


While OBC works in partnership with Cranbook, we remain a separate organization and receive no financial compensation from them. Obi’s income comes from our programming, donations, grants and merchandise sales. OBC supports a staff of ___ full time employees and ___ part time employees, and benefits from the generous efforts of many dedicated volunteers.

As part of OBC’s effort to increase awareness about bat conservation and need to protect them OBC’s directors have made regular appearances on national television. They have appeared on “The Today Show,” “Martha Stewart Living,” “Regis and Kelly,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “The Tonight Show,” “Ellen” and “National Geographic.”

OBC also organizes teacher workshops, research meetings and festivals. Each year the “Great Lakes Bat Festival” draws over 2000 people from around the Midwest and beyond. OBC also produces educational material including the award winning video “Bats the True Story,” books, posters and informational hand outs. In addition the Organization for Bat Conservation attempts to educate people around the world via the internet on our website

Additionally OBC provides ongoing financial support for conservation efforts on the Island of Rodrigues to preserve the highly endangered Golden Bat. OBC is also supporting efforts to research the cause, and treatment of the devastating disease “White Nose Syndrome” that has been wiping out hibernating bats across Eastern North America. Other conservation efforts include work in Malaysia, Australia, Costa Rica and Mauritius.

Our Animals

OBC has over 170 live animals from around the world. Most of the animals we care for are bats however some of the other animals that we care for at the Bat Zone are a Two Toed Sloth, Owls, Flying Squirrels, Sugar Gliders and Bearded Dragons. All of the animals that live at the Bat Zone are either injured, come from rescue situations or have been donated from zoos or AZA accredited institutions that cannot house them any longer. All of the animals at OBC are non-releasable.

OBC never collects animals from the wild and holds firmly to the philosophy that wild animals are not pets, which is a point that we stress in our educational programs. Our bats and all other animals that are housed at the “Bat Zone” are treated with respect. They are ambassadors for all their kind and our primary objective is to provide the highest level of husbandry to ensure their safety and well being.

The Directors

Rob Mies and Kim Williams started working with bats in 1990 during their biology graduate work at Eastern Michigan University studying the endangered Indiana Bat in the Swamps of Michigan. Their research has also taken them to other parts of the Midwest, Costa Rica, Australia and the Island of Rodrigues.

Mies and Williams founded the Organization for Bat Conservation to educate people about the uniqueness and importance of bats. Rob and Kim are authors of many scientific papers along with their book “Understanding Bats” (1996), and are the producers of OBC’s award winning video “Bats: The true story” (1998). They also wrote the first field guide to bats of the United States and Canada called the “Beginner’s Guide to bats” (2002).

Rob and Kim have been featured in numerous television documentaries including Paramount Pictures “Wild Things” (1997) and Germany’s “Nature Adventure” (2002). Mies and Williams are also frequent guests on the “Today Show”, “Martha Stewart Living” and “Live with Regis and Kelly.” Mies and Williams have also consulted for National Geographic, Nickelodeon and The Discovery Channel.

In addition, the OBC founders are advisors and members of the American Zoological Association Bat Taxon Advisory Group, The Midwest Bat working Group, of which Rob Mies is the current president (2010-2011) and the Michigan Bat working Group.

Awards include the Metro Detroit Science Teacher’s Association’s “2001 Educator of the Year” and Michigan United Conservation Club’s “2003 special Conservation Award.”


The Great Lakes Bat Festival July 9, 2011

Additional Information:


The Organization for Bat Conservation needs YOUR HELP!
There are many wonderful opportunities for volunteers here at the Organization for Bat Conservation.
Our staff depends on dedicated volunteers to help complete the daily tasks that allow us to continue the important work of educating the public about some of the world’s most amazing night time creatures.  
Some of our exciting volunteer opportunities are:
  • Volunteer Animal Keeper: You can help the staff of O.B.C. care for the over 170 animals that we house here at the “Bat Zone” at Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills, MI. This is a wonderful way to directly impact the lives of our animal ambassadors. This job ranges from cage cleaning and food preparation to assisting with monthly health checks. This is a messy job, but a rewarding one that allows our volunteers to really get to know what goes into the care of bats!
  • Office assistant: We can use your help in our office. Our office staff is responsible for everything from daily correspondence and data base management to merchandise sales. If you have good general office skills and are interested in helping us keep our office in order this might be the perfect fit for you!
  • Marketing: You could help us get the word out. The Organization for Bat Conservation is constantly working hard to reach more people, and spread the word about the importance of bats and other night creatures. If you are organized, enthusiastic and have good people skills this could be one of the many ways that you could make an impact at O.B.C.!
  • Special Events: Do you like fairs and festivals? Do you like to interact with the public? This could be the job for you. The Organization for Bat Conservation is involved with several special events throughout the year and we need people to help!
  • The Great Lakes Bat Festival:  This exciting annual event is a wonderful way that you can help O.B.C. impact a great deal of people on one fun filled day! With events running all day long there are many opportunities to help make the Great Lakes Bat Festival a huge success!
  • Education: Do you have a background in Education? Do you enjoy working with the public? Maybe you would be a perfect fit to work with our education department in program development and even assisting our presenters with outreach programs!
If you’re interested in helping bats at the Organization for Bat Conservation you can fill out the volunteer application and e-mail it to Jessica Fabian at
We’re looking forward to working with you!
Not in Michigan? You can help too! Contact us for ways that you can help bats in your community.