The following was originally published by Newswise.

With the introduction of industrial-scale wind power, two groups that typically align were suddenly at odds: renewable energy adherents and wildlife conservationists.

Wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of bats in North America each year, but it’s been hard to figure out why, because they are active at night, making their behavior unobservable.

That is, until Brogan Morton, founder of Wildlife Imaging Systems, figured out how to track bats in the dark using thermal imagery.

It was a classic entrepreneurial moment, Morton recounted at the CFES Brilliant Pathways global conference held in November in Burlington, Vt., and on Dec. 12 he will tell his story to an audience of young people who are hoping to one day produce world-changing innovations of their own.

“We have seen (bat) behaviors no one had ever seen before,” Morton said, which is an essential step toward finding a solution to the mortality problem. “We want to do a good thing, but we also want to grow the business.”

The webinar is the fourth in a series of Entrepreneurial Exchanges designed to inspire high school students who are entering, or are considering entering, the Vermont Pitch Challenge, a Shark Tank style competition open to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors around the world.

CFES and the University of Vermont have teamed up to present the Vermont Pitch Challenge, which encourages students to come up with an idea that is both beneficial to the common good and capable of making a profit. Submissions open on Jan.15, with cash and scholarship prizes for the winners. Details are available at

CFES President and CEO Rick Dalton said his organization is tracking a trend among young people toward self-employment — running their own businesses and developing innovations useful to a variety of companies and nonprofits.

“This new interest in entrepreneurialism is one for the great opportunities of our post-pandemic era, and CFES is showing students how to go about it,” Dalton said. “These webinars inspire young minds, and teach the basics of operationalizing a workable idea, developing a business plan and obtaining financing. Whether the entrepreneurial venture is about money, the arts or social good.”

Morton said innovation is less likely to be a new idea out of the blue than it is the new application of existing technologies. “Creativity is taking something from two different areas and putting them together,” he said.

The 7 p.m. webinar is open to be public by registering at and will be recorded for future viewing.


CFES Brilliant Pathways is a global leader in helping K-12 underserved students from ruraland urban communities become college and career ready, giving students an opportunityto forge their own route to a bright future. You can learn more at