Bear Smart Durango sponsors a number of outreach efforts and events to bring awareness of our mission of reducing human-bear conflicts in the greater Durango area. A new community event, the Spring Bear Wake-Up Social, debuted in 2012.
The focus of these outreach and event efforts is to provide information on bear biology and behavior, bear habitat and seasonal food uses, human-bear conflict, managing human food attractants, bear deterrents and safety for residents and best practices for living with bears. Some events provide a forum for experts in the field of human-bear conflict to share the most up-to-date findings and methods with our community.
See a photo gallery of Bear Smart Durango outreach examples.
In addition to the “I’m a Bear Smart Kid!” Elementary Schools Program and the Spring Bear Wake-Up Social, other outreach and events include:
Bear Smart Newspaper Columns
Bear Smart Durango writes monthly Bear Smart columns for the local Durango Herald during the six-month bear season. Archived versions can also be found on the Durango Herald website.
- Bears are awake, ready for warm weather. Are you?
- Is being fire wise also being bear smart?
- What is a cub and what’s its key for survival?
- How cute is it when bears become a nuisance to neighborhoods?
- Rehabilitation gives one lucky cub a chance at new life
- Electric fencing will keep bears out of the coop
- Bears are back: Here are some reminders
- Why are some bear seasons easier?
- We are to blame when human foods attract bears
- Are human foods helping grow the bear population?
Spring and Fall Bear Hikes
For the public to better understand bears in the wild, habits and seasonal food requirements, educational walks in bear country in the spring and fall are made available to the general public. Small groups venture into areas with obvious bear sign and learn about bear scat, day beds, tree markings and natural foods. In addition, bear spray demonstrations are provided along with photos, statistics and information on urban bears and avoiding conflict. 46 people attended the 2011 Spring and Fall Bear Hikes. See photos here.
Fruit Tree Outreach
In an effort to reduce the avoidable amount of unused fruit available to bears, we worked with Jim Dyer of Healthy Community Food Systems and Darrin Parmenter from the CSU Extension Office to develop a website bulletin board network to match up residents that had excess fruit with those that could use fruit. Potential benefits include: fewer human-bear conflicts, less damage to fruit trees, less wasted fruit on streets and sidewalks, more local food for human consumption, local livestock feed and local organic matter for compost. Another aspect of fruit tree outreach was an emphasis on the use of electric fencing. Read more about the Fruit Gleaning Program.
Electric Fencing Outreach
A demonstration of electric fencing for chicken coops was provided by Agritek Fencing at the 2012 Spring Bear Wake-Up Social and Gallagher Fence was on hand to demonstrate electric fencing for bears at the event in 2013. Also available were examples of electric unwelcome mats. A 92-page resource guide on electric fencing reference materials was produced and copies were provided to electric fence suppliers in Durango and loaned out to residents interested in constructing electrical fencing to deter bears from chickens, fruit trees, orchards, beehives, grains and more. The guide, “Electric Solutions for Deterring Bears,” is a compilation of resources and how-to instructions from Montana FWP, Living With Wildlife Foundation, Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and more. Thanks to Gallagher Fence and Agritek Fence there were electric fencing demonstrations in 2013 at a private home in Hermosa, Apple Days and the Spring Bear Wake-Up Social.
Community, Civic Group and HOA Presentations
Bear Smart Durango makes slideshow presentations available to the general public on bears and human-bear bears issues. The presentation, titled “Talking Trash: Human-Bear Conflict in the Greater Durango Area”, covers bears in the wild, seasonal habits and food needs, human food attractants, conflicts with people, attractant removal and avoiding conflict, bear mortality and how other communities have addressed human and bear issues. In 2012, Bear Smart Durango made five public presentations to 117 attendees.
Policy Maker Outreach
Bear Smart Durango has produced monthly and year-end bear activity reports and made them available to city and county staff, city council, county commissioners, law enforcement and others. These timely summaries were a compilation of bear sighting and incident reports provided by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Bear Smart Durango and included total reports, bear in trash reports, year to date figures and an excel formatted list of monthly reports.
- Prior to the passage of the City Wildlife Ordinance in 2010, Bear Smart Durango delivered an informational letter to the Durango City Council.
- To announce the start of bear season 2012, Bear Smart Durango coordinated a brief presentation by school children for a City Council meeting. Watch a video of the presentation to Durango City Council.
Media and Social Media Outreach
Bear Smart Durango appears occasionally on the local college radio station, KDUR, typically in the spring to announce the start of bear season and partner with the City of Durango on educational public service announcements and programs to be aired on City Channel 10.
The Bear Smart Durango website was visited 9,977 times by 7,199 unique visitors in 2012. A Bear Smart Durango facebook page was established in 2009 and had over 675 followers as of June 2013. In late 2012, the Bear Working Group recommended that a twitter account be established for educational outreach.
Be Bear Smart Week
See posters from past speaker events.
Special Events Booth
Fort Lewis College Outreach