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Educating & Motivating Your Residents

Communities and homeowners associations (HOAs) both large and small have found that motivating people to live responsibly with wildlife takes a combination of education, outreach and practical solutions to the biggest problems, like handling trash and feeding wildlife. Plus well-crafted regulations and legislation that gives officers and officials the tools they need to ensure change.

With hundreds of professionals contributing to Living with Bears Handbook, it's a tool you can use and recommend with confidence.

NEW: Bear Smart Pocket Guides

Three tri-fold pocket guides filled with handy tips and smart advice are a companion to the Living With Bears Handbook. Guides are sold individually or in sets. Learn More

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Not Getting Along Is Not an Option

Hemlock Farms is a community in Pennsylvania where 10,000 residents have learned how to peacefully share space with about 20 resident black bears.

"Not getting along with the bears is not an option. Bears are so well adapted, that community in their home range doesn't faze them. It's up to people to accept the fact that bears live in close proximity and we need to educate ourselves on the do's and don'ts of living with them," says Mike Sibio, Community Manager.

Hemlock Farms uses both the Living with Bears Handbook and the new Living with Bears Pocket Guides to help them educate and inspire their 10,000-plus residents and visitors to their community.

Photo: Gary Alt

Air Force Goes Bear Friendly

“We were the McDonald’s for bears,” said Colonel Curt Van De Walle, Commander of the 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group at Hurlburt Air Field in Okaloosa County, Florida. The base is surrounded by bear habitat, but the resident bears quickly learned it was much easier to drop by and eat on base.

Hurlburt converted all of their trash containers to bear-resistant models and started a rigorous education program on living in bear country for everyone who lives or works on base. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) trained their security forces on how to respond properly to bears, including administering aversive conditioning. After a year of efforts, conflicts on the base dropped by 70 percent and FWC honored Hurlburt for being a “Bear Safe Community.”

Photo: Kristal Walsh

More Than One Way to Outsmart a Bear

Bear issues in Leavenworth, Washington, dropped dramatically when the town’s garbage service changed its schedule. They used to pick up trash very early in the morning, causing even the most committed people to put it out the night before. In 2012 the town switched to picking up trash mid-afternoon, and problems with bears and garbage went way down.

The Book At-A-Glance

  • Black bear biology & behavior
  • Black bear population charts
  • Urban bears
  • Causes of human-bear conflicts
  • Bear management overview, options
  • When bears are killed
  • Bear proofing homes & communities
  • Being bear smart outdoors
  • Trash solutions that work
  • The best bear deterrents
  • Handling attacks and encounters
  • Tools to help communicate and motivate
  • Legislation & ordinances
  • Working with non-profits and volunteers
  • Case studies and success stories
  • Extensive resources and references

Put the Book & Pocket Guides to Work

  • Buy at wholesale discounts, sell in the office and at presentations and events
  • Give a book or a pocket guide in return for a donation to a pertinent program
  • Use proceeds from book sales to fund bear education
  • Make available in libraries; recommend to visitor center gift shops and bookstores
  • Give to volunteers as a reference tool or a thank you for service
  • Include in a welcome packet to new residents