During the First-Ever Missouri Bat Festival, Red Bats Will Officially Take Flight on the Sides of 1, 900 U-Haul Moving Vans

LEASBURG, Mo. (April 16, 2012) — U-Haul today announced the release of 1,900 new moving vans showcasing the red bat and some of the finest caverns in the state of Missouri, found below the surfaces of Onondaga Cave State Park. This newest SuperGraphic, honoring the state of Missouri, has been created to help people learn about the complex communication systems used by bats, which reveal their dependence on echolocation. The red bat’s reputation is that of the cutest, friendliest-looking bat that echolocates, and it has made its home in the trees surrounding Onondaga Cave State Park in Leasburg.

 "Caves and bats are valuable but often-misunderstood resources.  We welcome this opportunity to feature Onondaga Cave State Park and spread the word about these outstanding resources.  The more people learn about caves and bats, the more they will understand how important it is to protect them," said Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks, a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. "We appreciate U-Haul Company's assistance in helping us spread that message to everyone who sees their trucks."

 At noon on Saturday, April 21, 2012, during the first-ever Missouri Bat Festival ,U-Haul will unveil the Missouri SuperGraphic as its “Venture Across America” Campaign visits Onondaga Cave State Park. Guests will have the opportunity to hear from local dignitaries, representatives from Onondaga Cave State Park and the president of U-Haul Company of Missouri. During the event U-Haul will be making the first official announcement regarding the launch of a new

U-Haul SuperGraphics contest.  Guests will also have the unique opportunity to enjoy a “Live-Bat Encounter” and learn about bats from around the world with Rob Mies, TV personality, conservation biologist, and founder and executive director of the Organization for Bat Conservation. The first 1,000 guests visiting the U-Haul exhibit will receive a free U-Haul commemorative T-shirt and an informational booklet featuring the red bat, as well as information regarding the importance of all bats around the world…and the amenities of Onondaga Cave State Park. Those unable to attend the unveiling event can watch it via a live webcast by visiting uhaul.com/supergraphics. Webcast viewers can participate in the event live via Facebook and Twitter by answering trivia questions about the event for cool SuperGraphics prizes.

 “We’re thrilled to partner with Onondaga Cave State Park to honor Missouri’s natural beauty and the finest caverns in the state. With an interpretive center, educational programs and featured bat walks, complete with bat detectors, visitors can hear bats using echolocation, their cool ultrasonic coded language,” exclaimed Kevin Neighbors, president, U-Haul Company of Missouri. “Now, people all over North America will have the opportunity to discover more about how bats use complex sounds to greet, direct, warn and play with one another, and learn how the significance of bats and how their communication affects human lives.”

 U-Haul SuperGraphics are the educational, thought-provoking images on the sides of U-Haul trucks that highlight little known facts about U.S. states and Canadian provinces, and are part of the “Venture Across America” Campaign. Nearly 200 different images have been created since the SuperGraphics Program began back in 1988. They can be viewed online at uhaul.com/supergraphics.  You can also follow “SuperGraphics” on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Tumblr.

U-Haul Media Relations                                

Joanne Fried, director media and public relations
Ashleigh Wagner, media and public relations specialist                                                     
E-mail:  publicrelations@uhaul.com                     
Phone:  602-263-6194                                               
Website:  uhaul.com/supergraphics

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