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Learn How To Live Responsibly With Bears

A bear in search of food. EP NEWS/ Hazelton

A bear in search of food. EP NEWS/ Hazelton

Programs, materials, video available for all audiences

From: Kate Rusch Town Public Information Officer

The community-led Bear Education Task Force now offers a variety of programs and materials for Estes Valley businesses, residents and guests, children and adults. The task force has developed partnerships with community organizations and businesses, and prepared educational programs, a five-minute educational video, printed and electronic materials, hands-on children’s programs, and an interactive pledge and recognition program for bear-responsible businesses. Resources are available at www.estes.org/wildlife. Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs), business and service organizations, social clubs, teachers and businesses are encouraged to contact the task force to request a program or materials to help valley residents and visitors understand how simple it can be to avoid conflict with bears and other wildlife.

Task Force facilitator Kate Rusch commented on the variety of educational options. “The short video ‘You’re in Bear Country’ is ideal for showing in the lobbies of lodging properties, and our members will offer on-site programs about bear biology and safety information tailored to the needs of your group.” Rusch said the Task Force has produced several types of printed and electronic materials that will help HOAs and residents’ associations educate people on the simple steps to live responsibly with bears, and to avoid the potential property and vehicle damage that can result from attracting bears to homes and businesses.

The partner agencies and individuals of the task force presented these resources at the April 9 Town Board meeting, as the Town proclaimed April “Estes Cares About Bears” month and unveiled a banner to be flown at the U.S. 34 and 36 intersection during April. The group’s mission is ultimately to create a better environment for bears and other wildlife, to preserve watchable wildlife in the Estes Valley, and to promote public safety.

The Bear Education Task Force was formed in the fall of 2012 after community conversations identified education as one of the critical pathways for improving bear and human interactions in the Estes Valley. Core participants represent the community at large, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Bears Are Us, Estes Valley Library, Waste Management, Association for Responsible Development, League of Women Voters, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park Police Department, Town of Estes Park staff and its Board of Trustees. For more information, visit www.estes.org/wildlife. For bear questions or concerns, please contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 303-291-7227. For bear emergencies, call 9-1-1.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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