Kristen Lear

Loveland, CO, US
Field of Work 
Conservation, Biology, Zoology, Anthropology, STEM Outreach
Bat Conservation International
Job Title or "Student" 
Agave Restoration Program Manager
PhD from the University of Georgia in Integrative Conservation and Forestry and Natural Resources
Education Level 
Profile Biography 
I am a bat conservationist by profession and passion. As a bat conservationist, I work around the world to study and protect bat species, including endangered species! I strongly believe in working WITH people to conserve the planet's biodiversity and ecosystems, and I am passionate about environmental education for wide audiences and mentoring younger generations interested in science and nature.

I fell in love with bats when I was about six, and I got my start in bat conservation in 6th grade when I built and put up bat houses for my Girl Scout Silver Award project. Unfortunately, many people are afraid of or misunderstand bats, so that’s why I’ve dedicated my life to protecting them! My work has taken me to lots of cool places around the world, including the US, Australia, Hungary, Costa Rica, and Mexico. I studied Zoology as an undergrad at Ohio Wesleyan University, where I spent several summers building and installing bat houses and researching species' preferences for bat house design and the ecosystem services (pest control!) of bats in Texas pecan orchards. After graduating in 2011, I spent a year in South Australia as a Fulbright Scholar studying the population dynamics of the critically endangered Southern bent-wing bat. I completed my PhD in 2020, which focused on the conservation of the endangered Mexican long-nosed bat, an important pollinator in desert and semi-arid ecosystems of the U.S. Southwest and Mexico. My work was interdisciplinary and combined methods and approaches from the natural and social sciences. I now work at Bat Conservation International coordinating their Agave Restoration Initiative to protect these endangered pollinating bats and am collaborating with conservation groups and other researchers to coordinate range-wide conservation efforts for the species.

One of my favorite parts about my job is sharing the wonderful world of bats with others! Leading evening bat walks, building bat houses to provide a home for bats, helping students with their own bat projects, this is why I love what I do. I am also passionate about mentoring younger generations as they pursue their interests in the natural world. As a Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts (I was a Girl Scout from kindergarten through high school and have continued as an adult volunteer ever since!) I know the importance of having positive women role models. Please reach out if you're interested in learning more about bats or getting involved in bat research and conservation efforts, or want to talk about what it's like being a woman in STEM! And remember, no matter what your interest is, it’s NEVER too early to get started!
Writing/blogging, Working outdoors, Pets, Dance, Poetry, Reading, Travel, Other
Race & Ethnicity 
Level of Participation 
After-school visit, Field trip participation, In-school visit, Online role model, Summer camp visit
My Experience 
I have been a Role Model many times.
Evenings, Weekdays, Weekends
Fun demonstrations or materials, Funding opportunities, Hands-on activities for students, Identifying other role models, Online Mentoring (email or Skype)
Program Affiliation 
AAAS If/Then Ambassador, Girl Scouts, NGCP Collaborative FabFem, SciGirls, Other
Other Program Affiliation 
American Association for the Advancement of Science IF/THEN Ambassador
Other Interests 
Wildlife, Photography

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