Amanda Lollar, Founder and President
Amanda is an author of both scientific and popular literature about bats, including her most recent work, The Rehabilitation and Captive Care of Insectivorous Bats. Amanda is a licensed bat care specialist in the State of Texas, permitted to work with threatened and endangered species. Growing up she had the unique existence of bouncing between the life of an army brat and a farm girl, and -starting with a crippled chicken- began rescuing animals at around age twelve. In 1988, she found an injured bat on a hot Texas sidewalk. She nursed it back to health, and in the process this small helpless creature taught Amanda the enchanting language of bats, sparking her indelible love for this remarkable species. In 1994, Amanda liquidated her furniture business to found Bat World Sanctuary. She credits her military upbringing with giving her the discipline it took to keep the organization going despite tremendous odds, and credits her farm life for enabling her to love all creatures great and small. Since founding the organization in 1994, Amanda has volunteered her time to Bat World Sanctuary 7 days a week, 365 days per year, 12 to 16 hours per day as the Executive Director and Lead Animal Caretaker. In 1995 Amanda discovered the song of the Brazilian free-tailed bat and later discovered that these bats have over 25 different vocalizations they use to communicate. In August of 2016 Amanda received The Carol Noon Award for Sanctuary Excellence and has twice been nominated for the Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading prize for conservation. Click here to read her CV.
Addison McCool, Vice President
Addison grew up working with horses and rescuing dogs and small animals, oftentimes rescuing them from certain death and finding appropriate homes. She began working at Bat World Sanctuary in 2018 and quickly excelled in her position, working her way to Executive Director in less than a year, and in 2021, the position of Vice President. Addison lives on-site and often spends her days off continuing to work for the bats in securing supplies and enrichment items, interviewing with news outlets, social media posts for the organization, and assisting in worldwide rescues. In her free time Addison enjoys hiking, camping, gardening and exploring national and state parks. Her compassion and tenderness toward all animals matches her dedication to help bats worldwide. Addison looks forward to spending many years ahead in furthering the mission of Bat World Sanctuary.
Emily Laszczak, Secretary
Emily is a native of Weatherford, Texas. She has always had a deep rooted passion for animals of all shapes and sizes, bats in particular. Emily has been a volunteer at the Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter since she was 16. She has saved the lives of dozens of domestic pets through her social media posts for the shelter. Before coming to Bat World Sanctuary, Emily worked in accounting for five years. Since joining our team, Emily’s fondness for bats has increased tenfold, increasing her thirst for knowledge about bats and bat rescue. Like Addison, Emily lives on-site and often spends her days off continuing to work for the bats through social media posts for the organization and assisting in worldwide rescues. Emily’s bookkeeping, social media and rescue skills serve as a great asset in forwarding the mission of to Bat World Sanctuary.
Dottie Hyatt, Director of Planning
Dottie Hyatt functions as Vice President of Bat World Sanctuary with a BS in Business Management. She is a retired International Project Manager (PMP) and an active licensed bat specialist and lecturer. Dottie was formerly associated with the USDA and has worked with everything from bunnies to manatees in her native south Florida. She has focused her rescue, rehabilitation and conservation efforts exclusively on bats since 2000.
Dottie is authorized to teach 16 hours of continuing bat education to ACO’s (Animal Control Officers) and is the author of Lil Drac, the Tiny Bat Who Rocked a Million Hearts. She has had articles in the press from the Washington Post to the Ft. Worth Star Telegram to the Miami Herald. Dottie has also been featured on television and the radio.
Kate Rugroden, Director of Special Projects
Kate is a Business Systems Analyst/Project Manager, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees in IT Management, and she is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator specializing in bats, raccoons, and opossums. She is also the Director of the Bat World MidCities rescue center in Arlington, TX. In addition, she is chair of the Stakeholders’ Committee for the National White Nose Syndrome Response Team, and is the community representative for the University of Texas – Arlington’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
Kate is approved for continuing professional education credits by the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, and the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. She is a passionate teacher and mentor, sharing her love of all animals and especially bats, with everyone she meets. Her first book, The Essential Bat, was published by Bat World Sanctuary in August, 2012. It is currently in its fifth printing. Kate also acts as instructor for Bat World Sanctuary’s rehabilitation workshops as well as Animal control workshops held throughout the US. Kate has volunteered her services with Bat World since 2004.
Denise Tomlinson, Zoo/USFWS Liaison
Denise Tomlinson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and has over two decades of experience with the husbandry and the captive care of multiple species of bats, both indigenous and exotic. She also has over a decade of experience in veterinary medicine. She has served as a member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Taxon Advisory Group for Chiroptera (bats) since 2000, whereas actively contributing to the husbandry guidelines and management of bats held in zoological institutions and is the former co-chair the Florida Bat Working Group. Denise has presented at professional and scientific symposiums, instructed multiple workshops, including multiple intensive week-long workshops relative to the rehabilitation, husbandry and captive care of insectivorous bats and has authored various articles and chapters relative to the husbandry and captive care of bats. She has over 100 hours in training specific to the husbandry and daily management of fruit bats, specifically Pteropus from the Lubee Bat Conservancy. She has been an active board member of Bat World Sanctuary since 2001.