Supporting Bear Smart Education
Get Bear Society knows a thing or two about bears in Whistler, but their main challenge is community-wide education to prevent human-bear conflict and keep bears alive.
Their challenge is made even greater by the constant influx of newcomers and visitors to Whistler who don't know how to live, work, and play safely and respectfully in bear country. Whistler has 2.72 million visitors each year! That's a lot of people to try to reach.
The 4 The Love of Bears Educational Outreach Program is an extensive campaign launched by Get Bear Smart that included the production and distribution of 3 infographcis, 10 videos, as well as 3 full size bear cut-out signs.
The campaign so far, has generated 33,782 video plays, 37,894 social media reactions, and a total reach of 125, 871 across numerous platforms.
The full-size bear cut out signs were created with messaging for visitors and newcomers. The signs are a photo of an actual bear holding a sign, and they allow people to get a safe "selfie" with an image of a life-size bear, rather than putting bears and themselves at danger in the pursuit of a selfie with a real bear.
Get Bear Smart has been expanding their reach through by working with the newly formed Whistler Wildlife Protection Group, a citizen's group that formed as a result of the killing of mother bear and her two cubs in August 2016.
The Community Foundation of Whistler is a strong supporter of Get Bear Smart Society's work in the community. Community education and outreach on living with bears in Whistler is a continuing effort, particularly as the number of visitors to Whistler continues to grow.
"Bear Smart videos and infographics have been great sources when we have been wanting to provide information to newcomers. The majority of all seasonal workers have never before seen a bear, and want that photo to share with friends and family back home, and these videos provide great information on how to behave when encountering a bear, and what may happen if we overstep our boundaries and don't respect their space.
Having infographics stating that we must understand that they are wild animals, and how we must live together and share this town, and how a bear may have to be put down if we don't do our part and try to keep them wild by putting away garbage etc. having this word coming from a respected group rather than us as individuals has a huge (positive) impact - it is absolutely taken more seriously when there's the name Bear Smart
involved!" ~ Emma, Whistler Wildlife Protection Group
"Having lived on and off in Whistler for almost 8 years, I had always thought of myself as someone who knew a lot about wildlife. I then started following Bear Smart on social media and their videos and infographics made me realize that I hadn't been behaving in the correct manner around the Bears during all these years. Bear Smart and the work they do is essential in teaching people how to co-exist with our bears and their work should actually be shared with more communities. Canada is wildlife and that's why so many people come to our country so protecting them should be the norm." Ranya Dube