Submitted by Wildsight Invermere

Living in bear country is a privilege, but it brings with it a responsibility to ensure that bears have a quality, connected habitat within which to roam and that we have the awareness and understanding of how to coexist with bears in order to remain safe in this place we call home. That’s why Wildsight Invermere, in collaboration with WildSafe BC, B.C. Conservation, Groundswell Network, the Invermere Public Library, the district of Invermere and Columbi-YEA, have organized the annual Ursus & Us: Bear Awareness Day. This year, it takes place on Saturday, Aug. 21, from 12 to 3 p.m. at Pothole Park.

The free, family-friendly event will feature fun activities, crafts, workshops and displays. You’ll have the chance to chat with local conservation experts about human-wildlife coexistence, which is a particular concern at the end of summer as fruit trees ripen and human-bear encounters can increase.

When bears are preparing for hibernation, they need to eat up to 20,000 calories per day— the equivalent of 300 apples or around two and a half bags of birdseed! As a result, it’s extremely important that we do not attract bears into our yard through unpicked fruit or undisposed garbage.

To help with this, you’ll have the chance to make apple juice with Groundswell (bring your own container and apples, pre-cut into quarters).

As in previous years, you’ll also learn how best to behave when you come across a bear. WildSafe BC will give a talk on why it’s important to carry bear spray and demonstrate how to use it. You’ll be able to try your hand at using it, too — albeit with an innocuous spray! If you bring your used bear spray canisters, we’ll recycle them for you, too. One of our tireless Conservation Officers, Greg Kruger will talk about his work and demonstrate how a bear trap works. More games, crafts and interactive learning experiences will be provided by the Invermere Public Library, Columbi-YEA and Wildsight Educator Jessie King-Caza, so be sure to join us this Saturday.

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