The snow has yet to arrive, and the bears are still scrambling to get enough nourishment before that happens. WildSafeBC co-ordinator Sarah Osadetz is still working hard with locals to keep wildlife conflicts as low as possible during this time.
“We’re still doing a lot in terms of education, and have had some really great success with the schools and our Junior Ranger program,” said Osadetz.
The program gives the students all the knowledge and skills they need to minimize human and wildlife conflict, and they then become rangers and work as ambassadors to spread that knowledge to their families, neighbours and community as a whole.
Given that there has been so much success with youth in Golden, Osadetz is hoping to expand on that and set up a new trail camera program. She is waiting to hear back regarding costs, timelines, and interest from schools. But the the hope is to have a camera set up this fall so that students can see footage of wildlife, bears in particular, which will help them learn identification.
“Last year I was getting calls about bear sightings into December, so you never know how long they’ll be out,” said Osadetz. “It really depends on the bear, and if he has gotten enough nourishment for the winter.”
Garbage still remains at the top of the list of bear attractants, so WildSafeBC is conducting an online survey to gather some data regarding locals’ habits and knowledge of local regulations. You can find the survey at surveymonkey.com/r/wildsafegolden.
With the season almost over, Osadetz is already looking toward next year and is hoping to keep the successful Golden Apple Festival going.
The late-September event in Spirit Square had a great turnout that surpassed even Osadetz’s expectations.
“It was a really great outcome, we had people showing up at 11 a.m. (one hour before the festival began) with dozens of pounds of apples,” she said. “I’d say we had about 300 people visiting throughout the day, and the volunteers who turned out were really amazing too.”
After a successful fall of fruit gleaning, where different groups came together to pick fruit trees and share and donate the food, Osadetz was excited about the positive outcome.
“The sharing of knowledge was so exciting and positive. People from all walks of life came together, and new people who had never volunteered before were coming out,” she said. “Sharing the food was just so positive, I believed so strongly in what we were doing.”
Planning of next year’s festival will begin next month.