The Crowsnest Pass BearSmart Association will be offering a Bear Awareness and Bear Spray Training Course on June 15 at the Hillcrest Ball Diamonds.

“The purpose of the course is to offer science-based training to those in our community and surrounding area,” Christy Pool, President of the Crowsnest Pass BearSmart Association, says. “The course provides fact based and hands on training to anyone who participates.”

The course, Pool says, involves identification of each bear species, bear biology, and detailed explanation of different bear behavior. Different encounter scenarios will also be discussed and participants will be put through hands on scenarios including bear spray training using inert spray. 

“This course is important because understanding how bears behave and their natural instincts and drives really reduces the number of unnecessary negative encounters,” Pool says. “With knowledge, people generally stop fearing and learn to respect the animals in our area. This makes life a lot safer for everyone, including the bears.”

The course, Pool says, has been in existence since 2010 and are open to the public every spring and fall. Registration is by donation and any money donated covers the supply and course material costs. 

“This entire program was started under the Government of Alberta's BearSmart Program, as an association we worked to take ours farther and create something people will understand and remember,” Pool says. “We have been fortunate to have the support and guidance of the people who worked to create this program entirely.”

Pool says that the course is truly unique because it was created right out of the field with the experience and guidance of officers and biologists with over 25 years in the field. The course is also popular, Pool says, with 400-500 being taught yearly and a limit of 30 in each course. 

To register for the course, contact Dellarae Sharpe at 403-878-5055 or at cnpbearsmart@gmail.com.

“The first step to being safe in areas where bears/cougars or any wildlife and humans interact is education,” Pool says. “Those who take the time to become properly educated and practice using their bear spray and other bear deterrents hardly ever have any issues. Like most things in life education and respect are key.”

 

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