About Us

Find out what Bat Conservation & Rescue of Virginia is all about

What We Do

Bat Conservation & Rescue of Virginia strives to conserve native bat species in Virginia and beyond by engaging, empowering, and educating people of all ages and abilities to ensure the future of Virginia's bats and preserve their habitats.

We engage and empower people to take action on behalf of Virginia's vanishing bats by

  • Providing accurate and timely information to concerned citizens, especially those who normally have no voice in wildlife management decisions, so they may effect change and action;
  • Providing conservation education to persons of all ages and abilities, focusing on STEAM in K-12 and citizen science for all ages;
  • Encouraging conservation action through personal connection and expression in art, literature, theater and other nontraditional conservation formats;
  • Rescuing and rehabilitating individual bats and promoting science-based management through hands on experiences, lectures, and training;
  • Supporting research and other projects that protect bat populations throughpublic awareness, data sharing, and captive bat management.
A rescued eastern red bat looks at the camera

Who We Are

Bat Conservation & Rescue of Virginia is a 501c3 public charity supported by partners, sponsors, and collaborators. To become a sponsor or partner please contact us.

Meet Our Board

Our Board is comprised of dedicated bat and outdoor education enthusiasts of varied backgrounds.

Leslie Sturges


Leslie has been a wildlife enthusiast all her life. One of her earliest memories is feeding grass stems to a nestful of almost-weaned meadow voles she discovered in her backyard. She housed and bred snakes, turtles, lizards, frogs, and insects before becoming a zookeeper with the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park. She left the zoo to join Montgomery County Parks as a park naturalist. In 2001, Leslie opened Bat World NOVA, a satellite rescue center of Bat World Sanctuary, so that she could pursue a lifelong love of bats. In 2011, she founded Bat Conservation & Rescue of Virginia (then known as The Save Lucy Campaign) to focus on white nose syndrome, bats native to the eastern US, youth advocacy, and conservation education through art. Over the past 20 years, she has cared for well over 1,000 bats and has maintained a colony of bats that visit schools and other venues to educate the public about bats and wildlife conservation.

Chris Holland


Chris grew up with Hidden Oaks Nature center and has been educating children and family about the wild world for the past 15 years. He has been interested in supporting local bats for years and worked with Bat World NOVA to erect bat rocket- boxes for his Eagle Scout project. He recently graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Commerce and works in Finance and Accounting at Maximus, Inc. - a health and human services local government contractor.

Sherry Keen

At Large

Lynn Mitchell-Early

At Large

Kim O'Keefe

At Large

Deborah Hammer

At Large

Deborah Hammer has worked professionally for over twenty-five years on behalf of individuals with disabilities and their families. Ms. Hammer is currently employed by Arlington Public Schools as an Autism and Low Incidence Specialist, where she provides training and support to school staff, parents, and students. She is advisor to a club for students called The Order of Self- Determination and works closely with the Virginia Department of Education’s I’m Determined Project to promote student self-determination and person-centered planning. She also frequently presents at national and international conferences, including Autism Society of America, Council for Exceptional Children, the National Autism Conference, and the World Autism Organization International Conference. She was the recipient of the Eileen Crawford Award for Educators in 2017 and has twice been a recipient of the Arc of Northern Virginia’s Educational Leadership Award. She is active with CEC’s Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD) and serves on

the awards, nominations, and critical issues committees. As co-chair of the Northern Virginia Transition Coalition, she helps organize Future Quest, a regional college and career fair for students with disabilities. Ms. Hammer is a volunteer with the Organization for Autism Research and a frequent contributor to their newsletter and publications. She serves as chair of the Fairfax Area Disability

Services Board, an appointed government board that advocates for the needs of disabled community members. She is the founder and facilitator of a social club for young adults with autism and related disabilities, Cool Aspies. In her free time, she is a Virginia Master Naturalist, BioBlitz leader, and serves on the board of Friends of Dyke Marsh. She is also passionate about Chiroptera (bats) and will teach anyone who will listen about the benefits of these amazing flying mammals. She is a volunteer bat educator with Bat Conservation & Rescue of Virginia.

Ernesto Dominguez, DVM

At Large

Dr. Ernesto Dominguez grew up in Mexico City. Dr. Ernesto studied medicine for two years, but left to pursue his real passion: veterinary medicine. He graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) School of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. After getting his degree, he completed multiple postgraduate training programs in wildlife centers and zoos around the world, including the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic, Arcas Wildlife Center in Guatemala, The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, African Safari Zoo in Mexico, The Wildlife Center of Virginia, and the Johannesburg Zoo in South Africa. In 2016 he completed an internship in Raptor Medicine and Surgery at the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota. From 2016-2020 he was the Hospital Director at The Wildlife Center of Virginia. Dr. Ernesto has more than 10 scientific publications and book chapters in his curriculum. He is passionate about exotic pets’ welfare and strives for the gold standard of their care. He is Board Certified by the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. He is currently the Exotics Pet Veterinarian at Wellesley Animal Hospital.

Peggy Plass

At Large

Peggy S. Plass is a professor in the Justice Studies department at James Madison University. She is also a Virginia Master Naturalist with an interest in bat conservation.

Karin Block

Parent advisor

Rachael Block

Youth Advisor


Bat Conservation & Rescue of Virginia seeks individuals to serve on the board of directors. The time commitment is approximately 2 hours per week. Board members are required to attend board meetings via phone conference or web meeting 3 times per year. Candidates should have some familiarity with nonprofit management, conservation issues and environmental education; however, a diverse board makes for a strong organization so we welcome candidates with other strengths.

Financial Information

A copy of our current financial statement is available by request from the Virginia Division of Consumer Affairs Office in Richmond, Virginia.

More information can be found here.

Bat Conservation & Rescue of Virginia

877 Bunker Hill Rd

Mount Solon, VA 22843


Please direct sponsor or partner inquiries to LSturges@virginiabats.org

End of the Year Report

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