Taking all of those new ideas into account, we then identified the network's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It was interesting to realise that most networks face similar threats, and we brainstormed on solutions to these shared threats and weaknesses. For example, a lack of money was often identified as a threat, but using the collective experiences of the group we came up with a variety of ways to raise funds.
On the last day we focussed on what we, as a large network of bat networks, can do to contribute to bat conservation. It was especially inspiring to think about such ambitious projects with so many wonderful bat people. As scientists, we are more used to take small steps to eventually tackle a large question, but given the global reach we have together, and all the knowledge and skills available, we were able to jump straight to the big questions. So many amazing ideas were developed, on all different aspects of conservation imaginable. We, for example, thought up an approach to tackle bat hunting world wide. With the help of the GBatNet steering committee, were were able to approach the ideas very systematically, and set out a clear plan of action for possible implementations. We ended the three days with a visit to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, which was so much more than just an aquarium! They had beautiful exhibitions, one of which was based upon the Northern Territory in Australia! All-in-all, it was an amazing meeting, for a great variety of reasons. Speaking to so many amazing bat advocates was already inspiring in and of itself, but in addition, we made new connections with amazing bat networks and we thought critically of how to move forward with PacBat. We are going home with many new ideas, and motivation to further grow PacBat, and have as much positive impact on Pacific Bat Conservation as we can!