Greenways: Education is key to limiting human/bear interaction

Workshop next week will examine the ways bears and humans can peacefully coexist

Greenways Land Trust is hosting a bear awareness workshop next week, hoping to help limit human/bear interactions for both its volunteers and the general public. Black Press File Photo

While autumn known as the season of harvest, it’s also the time of year where bears are out looking for their own bounty.

And with Greenways Land Trust starting up a fruit gleaning project earlier this year, the organization thought it would be good for its volunteers to have a bit of knowledge about these beautiful animals so they – and the bears – can stay safe.

“We live in bear country, and we need to know about how having fruit trees around and maybe garbage in our yards, it increases human/bear interaction,” says Lynnette Hornung, Greenways food security projects coordinator. “And when there’s increased human/bear interaction, there’s a higher liklihood that bears will have to be put down. We want to minimize that by sharing information and providing education on how to minimize those kinds of interactions.”

So on Tuesday, Oct. 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., they are hosting retired conservation officer Glenn Naylor for a workshop at the Campbell River Senior’s Centre at the Campbell River Common (formerly Ironwood Mall).

Naylor has been putting on these kinds of workshops for some time, in collaboration with the Comox Strathcona Garden Education Centre and the City of Campbell River, but it made sense for Greenways to get involved this time around, Hornung says, because many of its volunteers are often out in small numbers – rather than large groups, which bears tend to steer clear of – in places where bears are likely to show up.

“It made sense for us to get involved, because with our new fruit tree program and the fact that we’re involved with coordinating streamkeepers around town who work on streams, sometimes by themselves, we work with school groups and have volunteers in our Adopt-a-Trail program in Beaver Lodge Lands, who are often out with small groups and we just want to make sure our volunteers are as equipped as possible to stay safe while they do the great work they do in our community.”

But next week’s workshop isn’t just for Greenways volunteers, Hornung says.

“It’s open to anyone who is interested in bear safety,” she says.

“The more we limit human/bear interaction, the better off we’ll all be, and education is how to do that.”

Pre-registration for the workshop isn’t necessary, but they would like to know approximate numbers so they can plan to have enough refreshments. Anyone interested in attending can contact Hornung at lynnette@greenwaystrust.ca or by messaging Greenways on Facebook (@GreenwaysTrust) to let them know you’re coming, but it’s not required.



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