The Western Canada Bat Conservation Program team is comprised of WCS Canada staff, WCS Canada contractors, and Graduate Students.



Cori Lausen, PhD

Director of Bat Conservation - WCS Canada Staff

Cori is a bat research and conservation biologist. She completed her PhD in Ecology at the University of Calgary in 2007. Both her Masters and PhD research were on bats, with the former focusing on behaviour and physiology, and the latter on landscape genetics. Cori Lausen joined WCS Canada in 2011 as part of her NSERC Industrial Research and Development Fellowship, investigating winter bat activity and hibernation in western Canada. Her program focuses largely on a science-based response to white-nose syndrome, a catastrophic disease impacting bats in North America, with 3 main tools: inventory and monitoring, disease prevention, and mitigation research.


Jason Rae, MSc.

Data and Research Scientist - WCS Canada Staff

Jason is responsible for providing management and research support for the bat program from his base in Nelson, British Columbia. Jason joined the WCS team in early 2016 after completing his MSc at Trent University examining the interactions between predation risk and disease exposure in amphibian tadpoles. Jason’s previous experience includes work as a research assistant examining traditional ecological knowledge of polar bear ecology in Northern Quebec, and estimating the local harvest of resources from 5 communities in Northern Labrador. He currently manages WCS Canada’s North American Bat Monitoring Program in British Columbia. 


Heather Gates, BSc.

Conservation Assistant - WCS Canada Staff

As the Conservation Assistant with the Bat Program, Heather works with Dr. Cori Lausen to understand the distribution and winter ecology of bats in Alberta and British Columbia. Heather holds a BSc in Biology from the University of Victoria. Before joining WCS Canada in 2014, Heather worked for several years as the head grower for a leading forest nursery.

Dana Blouin, BSc.

Program Manager - WCS Canada Staff

As Bat Program Manager with the WCS Canada Western Bat Research Program, Dana provides research and logistical support to our bat team. Dana has a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of Manitoba specializing in applied ecology and over 20 years experience in non-profit conservation biology work in Canada. Most recently, Dana worked as Manager of Science and Conservation Planning for the Nature Conservancy of Canada-Alberta Region implementing the Natural Area Conservation Plan program.


Cory Olson, MSc.

Alberta Bat Program Coordinator - WCS Canada Staff

Cory Olson is the Coordinator for the Alberta Bat Program after playing this role for several years as a contractor.  He is leading the development of several public outreach, education, and research projects relating to bats and other wildlife, including a citizen science project to collect information on roosting bats. He first got involved with bats at the University of Calgary, where he completed an MSc degree focusing on bat ecology. Over the last 15 years, he has been involved with several bat research and monitoring projects in western Canada.


Susan Holroyd, MSc.

Calgary Regional Coordinator, Alberta Community Bat Program - WCS Canada Contractor

Susan Holroyd has an MSc in behavioural ecology of bats from the University of Calgary, and works closely with Cory Olson to deliver the Alberta Community Bat Program in the Calgary region of Alberta.  As the Principal for  Holroyd Ecological Consulting, she has been involved in the creation of a set of Best Management Practices for Bats in relation to industrial activities associated with resource-development that may impact bats and their habitats.  


Leah Rensel, MSc. 

Biologist- WCS Canada Contractor

Leah Rensel is a biologist and former graduate student from University of British Columbia Okanagan, where she studied little brown and Yuma myotis maternity behaviour in artificial structures.  She is currently working to expand WCSC's probiotic project across the border from British Columbia into Washington State, where white-nose syndrome was first found in 2016.    


Susan Dulc, MSc. Student

Masters Student, Department of Natural Resource Sciences, Thompson Rivers University

 Susan is investigating the thermal properties of artificial bat houses, and how they may or may not be providing suitable refuge for both Little Brown and Yuma Myotis bats (particularly breeding females and their offspring) during the summer months.  Sue is jointly supervised by Karl Larsen, department of Natural Resources Sciences at the Thompson Rivers University, and Cori Lausen, WCS Canada.  


Karen Vanderwolf, PhD Student

PhD Candidate, Department of Environment and Life Sciences, Trent University

Karen is currently a PhD candidate at Trent University. Both her MSc and PhD were on bats, microbiomes, and white-nose syndrome. She also spent 5 years with the Canadian Wildlife Federation as their bat conservation specialist working out of the New Brunswick Museum. Her current projects include research on bat skin chemistry in the context of white-nose syndrome, as well as a national project examining bat box use in Canada. Karen is jointly supervised by Cori Lausen, WCS Canada.


Emily DeFreitas, MSc. Student

Masters Student, Ecosystem Science and Management, University of Northern British Columbia

Emily is a Masters student at the University of Northern British Columbia under the supervision of Dr. Erin Baerwald, Ecosystem Science and Management and Cori Lausen, WCS Canada. She is investigating seasonal tree use by Silver-haired bats at a known hibernaculum outside of Nelson, BC.


Aimee Mitchell, MSc.

Bat Technician - WCS Canada Contractor

Aimee has been an active member of the WCSC’s WNS Prophylaxis Treatment with Urban Bat Ecology Baseline Project on the South Coast of BC since 2018. In addition, she continues to consult and advise governments, first nations, stewardship groups and private landowners all over the South Coast on species at risk conservation and recovery with targeted work on additional SAR including Western Screech Owls, Western Toads and listed Bat species. She also actively provides information and coordinates with all relevant SAR Recovery Teams/Working Groups and organizations involved in formal habitat protection and species designations. She is a member of the Western Painted Turtle Recovery Team, Coastal Painted Turtle and Great Blue Heron Working Groups, and the South Coast and BC Bat Teams. 

Brian Paterson, MSc.

NABat Analyst - WCS Canada Contractor

Brian Paterson serves as a NABat analyst in the Western Canada Bat Conservation Program. Brian is a wildlife biologist with more than 10 years experience collecting and analyzing acoustic bat calls, including involvement with the NABat program led by WCSC since its inception. Brian has also been involved in several bat projects that have expanded species ranges in British Columbia and is currently working on projects to describe maternal roosting habitat for Northern Myotis and document winter bat hibernacula in the Peace Region of BC. In addition to bats, Brian conducts annual work on caribou (capture, telemetry, enumeration), coordinates regional surveillance efforts for Chronic Wasting Disease, implements conservation measures for fisher, and conducts avian surveys.


Photo Credits:  Header Photo- Jared Hobbs

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Contact Information
Address: Western Canada Bat Conservation Program; Kaslo, British Columbia | |