Garbage is the greatest season-long bear attractant in the Kootenays – in all of BC. How do you convince people to manage their garbage – and to consider using bear-resistant garbage cans? You get them to sing.
You may have seen Bear Aware at various public events this summer with a large stuffed bear in a red apron. “Bearista Bear” was advertising the “sing a silly bear song” contest.
Kootenay Coop Radio co-sponsored the contest that encouraged people to compose their own song or adapt an old standard to come up with a song about bears and garbage. Prizes included a large bear-resistant garbage can (donated by the Nelson and District Credit Union), a smaller bear-resistant garbage can (donated by Rollins Machinery) and Oso Negro Coffee and kid’s t-shirts (donated by Oso Negro Coffee).
The judges were: the Chief of Nelson City Police Wayne Holland, Conservation Officer Jason Hawkes, RDCK Area E Director Ramona Faust and Nelson City Councillor Candace Batycki.
Who won the prizes? All the entries were great. The judges chose the Wildflower School and their “Bear Aware Song” as the overall winner. Anneke Rosch came second with “Who Cares About Bears” and Heartsong came third with “Dirty Old Bear.”
You can listen to the award announcements (and the songs) on Kootenay Co-op Radio podcasts (kootenaycoopradio.com/index.php?/radio-show/show/kootenay_morning/). The songs are also posted on the Bear Aware Facebook page (facebook.com/BearAwareBC).
The contest was great fun, but it had a serious objective: make people aware of managing garbage so that bears are not drawn to garbage in our community.
People can keep garbage indoors or in a secure structure until the morning of collection (or until they take garbage to the landfill); they can freeze the “smelly food bits” and put them in the garbage just before collection; or they can use a bear-resistant garbage can.
Bear-resistant garbage cans are a solution for those who do not have adequate secure or indoor garbage storage. However, the cans are not available for purchase in Nelson and area and are, in comparison to standard garbage cans, expensive. People have had to order from the coast, or Alberta and have had to pay large shipping costs.
A Nelson resident, Tea Preville, is trying to help Kootenay residents solve this problem by putting together an order of at least 50 cans to Rollins Machinery to reduce costs to individuals who want to purchase a can. There is no profit involved, just an opportunity to get a bear-resistant can at a more reasonable cost. You can contact Tea for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org, 250-352-0333).
There have been at least six bears destroyed in Nelson and area this summer, largely due to garbage. Please manage your garbage.