Take it all off and strip your fruit trees and berry bushes

Gleaning in Golden

By picking your trees clean you can lower the chance of bears coming into your community.

By picking your trees clean you can lower the chance of bears coming into your community.

Sadie Parr

Golden Bear Aware Community Co-ordinator

Got fruit trees?  Pick em’ please!  Unpicked fruit attracts bears into our neighbourhood.  Some apples are already ripe for the picking and it is important that this fruit not become a bear attractant.

Next to household  garbage, domestic fruit is the most common bear attractant in communities across the province.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.  We can prevent bears from becoming used to people and our food.

This will keep both people and bears safe.

The community of Golden is working to find solutions.

This year, the Golden Bear Aware Program will be teaming up with the Golden Food Bank to continue their “Gleaning Project” in mid September, hopefully with some exciting new possibilities in the fall.

Once bears find and eat fruit around people, they learn to forage for this food throughout  our communities .  Bears always want more food.  If a bear becomes conditioned to human food and habituated to human presence, that bear is often killed as a human safety risk or because of property damage.

Please make sure that if you have fruit bearing trees or bushes that the fruit is picked and not left to fall to the ground.    If you have excess fruit now, the Food Bank will gladly accept picked edibles.   Boo at the Grizzly Refuge would also enjoy the windfall fruit.

Anyone interested in signing up to volunteer to pick fruit or in need of help picking can contact Sadie at Bear Aware golden@bearaware.bc.ca or Diana at the Food Bank Diana.taufer@gmail.com.   Perhaps your club or group could offer to volunteer for a few hours of harvest?  This joint initiative of the Gleaning Project and Bear Aware will address human and bear safety, local food sustainability, and community building.  It is a great plan but it is still up to each individual to do what they can to responsibly manage wildlife attractants.

Children from the community have painted signs saying “We picked our fruit tree to keep our community safe”.  Anyone wanting a sign to display on their property can also contact Golden Bear Aware.

Here are some key points to remember and some strategies to help us deal with fruit tree attractants in beautiful bear country: Fruit is a natural source of food for bears, but when they have access to domestic fruit this can cause an association between people and food.  Such an association can draw bears close to homes and to people.  Such close proximity can become a human safety risk and lead to property damage. Aggressively prune trees so they are easy to harvest. Fencing your trees with a fence or an electric fence is an option, Help neighbours to collect their fruit. Freeze your excess fruit to process into food later or to compost gradually.  (overloading your compost with fruit can also attract bears)Donate edible fruit to the local food bank and windfall to the grizzly bear refuge. Where bears are a problem, harvest all fruit early.  Consider using electric fencing to protect trees.

It is also time to be filling in your “Berry Surveys” for Bear Aware if you have picked one up.  If you haven’t yet done so and are willing to help collect information that can help monitor the resources and behaviour of bears locally and across the province, please contact Golden Bear Aware.

To learn more about how to become Bear Aware visit www.bearaware.bc.ca  If you have questions about bear attractants and how to responsibly manage them, e-mail golden@bearaware.bc.ca . The Golden Bear Aware Program gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Columbia Basin Trust.  The Bear Aware Program is also thankful for the support received from the Town of Golden, the Ministry of Environment and the BC Conservation Foundation.