Brookdale Expected To Go Batty On Thursday

Cierra Simmons, Staff Writer

Bats are coming to Brookdale!  The biology club has asked wildlife biology student Erin M. McHale to come to Brookdale to do a presentation on the bats of New Jersey. This will happen 11:45 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, in MAS 001.

McHale is a Brookdale alumnus who transferred to Rutgers and earned her bachelor’s in biology in 2017.  Now, she is one of five PH.D. candidates in ecology and evolution, and the only woman.  She works closely with Brooke Maslo, who is a Rutgers extension specialist, professor, and advocate for bats.  Under Maslo, McHale has participated in numerous research projects in entomology and parasitology.  Their team hopes to “find new ways to protect native and endangered species,” according to the website.  Her dissertation focuses on bat foraging strategies and behaviors.

In an article published by Rutgers, bats are referred to as “some of the most misunderstood creatures on Earth.”  McHale plans to bring a new understanding, or appreciation, of bats to Brookdale.

There are six bat species native to New Jersey.  One of these is endangered, the Indiana bat, while two are threatened, the little brown bat and the eastern small-footed bat.  Maslo wishes to raise awareness about all of these bats and tell how beneficial they can be.

Professor Patricia Dillon, adviser to the biology club, and McHale’s former professor, has seen her presentations before.  When asked if there would be live bats at the presentation, she said “I’ve seen both.  Sometimes she just brings hands-on things like skulls and carcasses, and sometimes she will bring a live bat.”

“I think the presentation will be beneficial for students who are interested in wildlife biology and animals, and hopefully other people will come because they think bats are cool,” Dillon said.  “We haven’t had the best turnout this year.”

Both Dillon and McHale think it is important for New Jersey residents to be aware and informed about bats, especially around this time when bats are looking for places to hibernate.

A few students have already expressed interest in this presentation.  Frankie Guadagnino, an 18-year-old biology major, said “That seems like a lot of fun.”

Students need to register to attend this presentation, as there are only 65 seats available.  There will also be a zoom viewing for those interested.  It is recommended to register in advance to be able to enjoy the show.  Participants may register at and watch on Zoom at or Meeting ID 9138476 3511