The team responsible for the newest addition to Hannibal's parks system received an award at a recent Missouri Department of Conservation conference.

The Missouri Chapter of the Wildlife Society presented its G. Andy Runge Wildlife Award to the groups responsible for making the Sodalis Nature Preserve in Hannibal a reality.

The preserve includes a former limestone mine that is home to several species of bats, including the federally endangered Indiana and gray bats and the federally threatened northern long-eared bat.

Among the organizations coming together to create the preserve were Hannibal Parks and Recreation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, The Conservation Fund, Missouri Bat Census, Missouri Department of Conservation and Cave Research Foundation.

Researchers believe the mine passages provide hibernation habitat to at least 168,000 Indiana bats, which is one-third of all the Indiana bats known to exist.

Parks & Rec's plans for the preserve are to extend a paved hike/bike trail along Bear Creek to provide a flat, accessible, scenic path for all ages.

Pictured, from left: Amy Salveter, field supervisor, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Scott House, Cave Research Foundation; Kirsten Alvey-Mudd, Missouri Bat Census Executive Director; Shelly Colatskie, cave ecologist, Missouri Department of Conservation; Shauna Marquardt, wildlife biologist, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Erin Van Waus & Tylar Samuels, Iowa National Heritage Foundation; Clint Miller, Midwest Project Director, The Conservation Fund; Mary Lynne Richards, Hannibal Parks & Recreation; Ryan Diener, president, Missouri Chapter, The Wildlife Society.

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