Tom received a B.S.in Wildlife Management from the University of Wisconsin in 1971, a M.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana in 1975, and a Ph.D. in Ecology from Rutgers University in 1981.
Prior to joining FWP, Lemke spent several years studying bats in South America and the Norhtern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific. His research projects included the taxonomy and distribution of several bat species in Colombia, mating systems and roosting habits of bats inhabiting an 18th century Spanish fortress, foraging behavior of nectar feeding bats and the coevolution of the plants they pollinated, and developing survey techniques and conservation strategies for endangered Marianas fruit bats.
Tom first became acquainted with bats during his grade school years while dry fly fishing for trout after dark on the Black Earth Creek, located within walking distance of his home in southern Wisconsin. He shared the stream with bats on many dark early summer nights when both brown trout and bats were hunting for large "Hexagenia" mayflies. Seeing the agility of bats catching insects on the wing and off the water captured his interest. Many years later he wrote a college paper on bat ecolocation for a Mammalogy class taught by one of his favorite professors, Dr. Charlie Long. That paper and the relationship he had with Dr. Long cemented his long-term interest in bats and eventually lead him to publishing several scientific papers and popular articles on bats.
You just never know how early life experiences or chance encounters with inspirational people will affect your life down the road.