Bruce Kimmel’s love for the natural world began during his childhood, when he visited many national parks with his family and learned from his father’s passion for bird watching. Although he initially dreamed of becoming a national park ranger, his fascination with science led him to pursue a PhD in biochemistry from the University of California Berkeley. His scientific career included work in the pharmaceutical industry, directing the Drosophila Genome Project, leading large neuroscience team projects at the Janelia Research Campus, and as CEO, successfully starting/growing the neuroscience imaging company Vidrio Technologies.
Now in retirement, Bruce is finally able to get back to his early dream of being a naturalist. He first got involved with Loudoun Wildlife by participating in the bluebird nestbox monitoring project, which he has been doing for 10 years. He also joined other LWC projects, such as annual bird counts and Salt Watch. In 2020, Bruce became a certified Virginia Master Naturalist, inspired by the LWC wildlife survey projects.
Motivated by his love for bats and LWC’s mission to preserve wildlife habitats, Bruce initiated and funded an acoustic bat monitoring project for Loudoun, with the help of his spouse, Kim Ripley. After a successful pilot project in 2021 at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve, the bat monitoring project expanded to 15 locations in the county, including the JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary. In 2022, the project recorded sightings of the endangered Northern Long-eared Bat at JK Black Oak in April and May, highlighting the significance of this habitat.
The local bat monitoring project is conducted in partnership with the USGS North American Bat Monitoring Project and is set to continue for the next decade. Bruce’s passion for nature and his dedication to preserving local wildlife habitats serve as an inspiration to all who share his love for the natural world.