With spring on the way, it’s time to be reminded that bears in the Northwest are waking up from long winter naps.
The Adopt A Stream Foundation is putting on a program Saturday to go over the do’s and don’ts in bear country to teach people about bear habits and habitats, and will even simulate a bear capture.
Presenters for the program are Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Officers Bruce Richards and Nick Jorg, who’s sometimes a guest on “Animal Planet.”
Joining the humans will be their four-legged assistants: Mishka, Colter and Savute, all Karelian bear dogs who help resolve bear and people conflicts.
These dogs play a big part at the end of the presentation when the audience is invited to help them scare a bear (a staff member in a bear skin) away from the Northwest Stream Center.
Guests at the program will learn that most people-bear conflicts occur when pet food or uncontained garbage is left out where the bears roam.
They will learn that bears can pick up the scent of food — even birdseed — from a long way away because their sense of smell is seven times better than a bloodhound’s and 2,100 times better than a human’s.
Washington state is home to black bears and grizzlies. But black bears win the head count with 25,000 to 30,000 in the state.
Officers Richards and Jorg spend most of their time addressing conflicts between bears and people.
“Now, we capture bears near where there is a conflict with people,” said Jorg in a prepared statement. “And then enlist the aid of our bear dogs to help us scare the bears and make them understand that contact with people is not a good idea.”
“Bears” is the featured Streamkeeper Academy event at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Adopt A Stream Foundation’s Northwest Stream Center at Snohomish County’s McCollum Park, 600 128th St. SE, Everett.
Reservations are required by calling 425-316-8592. Cost is $5 for Adopt A Stream Foundation members and $7 for nonmembers. For more information go to www.streamkeeper.org.