Recently, members of the Tradewind Energy team had the privilege of traveling to Alabaster Caverns State Park and the Selman Bat Cave near Freedom, Oklahoma. Part of Oklahoma’s State Park system, Alabaster Caverns is a 200-acre park whose highlight is the ¾ mile cavern formed of alabaster and is the largest natural gypsum cave in the world open to the public.
Amber Zuhlke, Director of Environmental Studies and Permitting for Tradewind Energy and a member of Bat Conservation International, coordinated the field trip for the group with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC). The study of bat activity is an important piece of the work Tradewind conducts in each of our markets. Biologists from the ODWC gave a presentation on bats in Oklahoma, specifically Mexican free-tailed bats, who use the caves at Alabaster and Selman Bat Cave in the spring and summer to raise their young.
Following the presentation, the team went to Selman Bat Cave and set up acoustic monitors and a heat-sensing camera. One by one, then all of a sudden, thousands of bats began to boil out of the cave to feed on the abundant supply of insects. Following the observations at Selman, we visited a meteorological tower located at one of our wind projects nearby, where the group discussed how Tradewind deploys acoustic monitors to gauge bat activity as part of development of a project.
We enjoyed the collaboration and are very grateful to the ODWC biologists who so graciously provided this amazing opportunity!