Kitimat Bear Aware program starts up again for another year

Two summer students are heading up Kitimat's Bear Aware program.

Darcie Reid and Dana Amado had just finished giving their spiel to some Radley Park campers about how to be bear aware when they took off around the corner to find some more campers.

The occupant of the next camp site they found wouldn’t need any lecture on how bears behave: he was one.

A black bear was standing on a picnic table and eating away at the remnants of the campers’ crab.

Reid and Amado slowly backed away, but not before realizing that, yes, this is exactly what they’ve been talking about.

“We actually had to use our skills that we preached to everyone else,” said Amado.

That was in 2012, and now for the second year in a row, the two are returned as the coordinators of the District of Kitimat’s Beat Aware program.

The students’ approach is to get people aware of all the bear attractants they might leave lying around. Garbage put on the curb the night before? That’s an attractant. Ripe fruit on a tree? That’s an attractant.

They’ll be knocking on people’s doors and going to businesses making sure people know how to be bear aware.

They started this year in May, earlier than they did in 2012, and are finding that people’s habits are starting off worse than they did in 2012, when they first set up in June.

But they think people are just slowly starting to realize bear season is here,

With the season of bears now being realized, they hope to people will work better, and that includes the several businesses they’ve seen with dumpsters not properly secured.

They also plan to get into the schools before they let out for the summer and speak directly to kids.

The two can be reached with bear related questions by e-mail at kitimatbearaware@hotmail.ca, or by calling 250-639-6082.

They also have a Facebook page and can be found on the District of Kitimat’s webpage at www.kitimat.ca.