Bears not welcome in the school yard

Revelstoke’s School District #19 has purchased six bear proof garbage cans, with an additional two purchased by Parks Canada. “Parks Canada is pleased to be part of this project, which highlights environmental stewardship, and increases awareness of bear safety and ecology to the youth in Revelstoke,” says Ian Brown, Manager of Resource Conservation for Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks.

This proactive move by the school district and Parks Canada to address the availability of garbage in school yards is great news for the community and the safety of children at school. While bears will come into our community, they will keep on going if they don’t find any available food or garbage. By removing available garbage at school yards, there is less chance of a bear lingering or being there at all.

Arrow Heights Garbage CanSchool children with new bear proof garbage cans

The bear proof garbage cans are smaller “mini” versions of the usual ones seen along the River Trail pathway and at many city parks, making it easier for children to reach. The schools that have received the garbage cans are Arrow Heights, Columbia Park and Mount Begbie. These schools were chosen due to increased bear sightings in recent years.

Talk to your children about the new garbage cans. Stress the importance of making sure all garbage after lunch and recess makes it to the cans. Although the cans are “mini”, some of the youngest children are still unable to reach and open the lid. I have received reports that the older children have been helping the younger children. It’s great to see they are working together. Keep up the great work!

I have only received a couple of reports of bear sightings in Revelstoke so far this bear season, but it is important to remember that bears are actively foraging for new spring vegetation. The possibility of running into a bear in our community, particularly in heavily forested areas, where bears travel under security cover, still exists. Please remind your children to avoid taking short cuts through heavily forested areas when traveling to school. If they do travel through these areas, travel in groups and make lots of noise, so a bear will readily identify them as human.

Talk to your children about the importance of how to act around bears. Never approach or feed a bear. If you see a bear, remain calm and leave the area.

Please report any bear sightings to the Provincial Problem Wildlife Occurrence phone line at 1-877-952-7277 or to Revelstoke Bear Aware at 250-837-8624.

If you have any questions about bear safety, give me a call or visit Video Express and view “Staying safe in Bear Country”, a free overnight rental. Have a happy and safe spring!

–Revelstoke Times Review, July 2009

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