2014 Hornaday Award - Erin Baerwald

The recipient of the 2013 American Society of Mammalogist’s William T. Hornaday Award is Erin Baerwald. The William T. Hornaday Award is awarded to a student who has made a significant contribution to the conservation of mammals and their habitats. Erin is a Ph.D student at the University of Calgary. Erin has already made a tremendous impact on mammalian conservation by exploring the causes and extent of bat mortalities related to wind turbine generators. These energy installations have seen astronomical growth over the last decade on our planet. Both her master’s thesis and doctoral research focused on bat conservation, including the impact of wind turbines on bat migration. Erin’s master’s thesis generated some of the very first publications on bats and wind energy. She was the first to describe the phenomena of barotrauma as one source of fatality at wind turbines.

To date Erin has published 8 papers on bats and wind turbines (with another now in revision). She has delivered numerous conference (3 invited) and public talks on different aspects of this conservation issue as well. She is an excellent communicator of information to diverse audiences. Erin has worked closely with industry to design operational mitigation to reduce bat mortalities, discovering that death could be significantly reduced if turbines altered their nightly activity patterns. These kinds of applied studies are critical to mammalian conservation in a rapidly changing world.