Bear Safety Education & Outreach Efforts Recognized

IdahoFish-Game

At the upcoming Yellowstone Grizzly Coordinating Committee in Jackson, Wyoming, the Idaho contingent will be recognizing the education and outreach efforts of local groups and media who have worked to promote a bear smart mentality through education campaigns, media outreach, and on the ground projects.

“These individuals, groups, and media outlets all understand that bears and humans can live safely together if the information about how to do so is made available in a manner that is clear and understandable,” said Gregg Losinski, regional conservation educator for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in Idaho Falls.

The groups receiving a plaque with a grizzly bear track cast and recognition plate are:

  • The North Fork Club in Island Park.
  • Elizabeth Laden and The Island Park News.
  • Joyce Edlefsen and The Rexburg Standard Journal.
  • The Grizzly Bear and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone.

“Elizabeth Laden and the Island Park News have worked not only with Fish and Game and the U.S. Forest Service, but the Center for Wildlife Information and community groups to spread the word about bear safety,” Losinski said.

Recently, the Island Park News teamed up with bear spray producer Counter Assault to distribute free cans of bear spray and to teach how to use it properly. Materials provided free from CWI have served as the constant centerpiece for all programs in the area.

“Local newspaper writer Joyce Edlefsen has gone out of her way to help us reach the public about safely living and recreating in bear country through in-depth research in the writing of her bear-related stories,” Losinski said.

From a more practical standpoint, the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center has worked with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee to develop a line of containers for trash and food that are bear resistant. The Center does not create the containers, but allows its resident grizzly bears to function as product testers to see whether the containers made by various companies can meet the criteria set by the Grizzly Bear Committee.

The North Fork Club in Island Park was recognized for its on-the-ground efforts to make it a reality that humans and bears can coexist.

“This association has tackled real life issues related to living in bear country and showed that it can be done if the commitment is there,” Losinski said.

While no formal recognition process exists, Losinski, who heads up the Information and Education Committee for the Grizzly Bear Committee, hopes that these awards in Idaho will stimulate similar recognition by other committee member organizations.

“Making it so humans and bears can coexist is not strictly a government thing; it takes hard work and cooperation from private individuals, businesses, and the media to be successful,” Losinski said.

For more information about bear safety, bear-resistant containers and ongoing efforts to recover grizzly bears in the Lower 48 go to: www.igbconline.org.

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