By Janette Vickers
Revelstoke bear Aware Coordinator
Bear Aware’s mission is to reduce the number of bear-human conflicts in our community through education, innovation and cooperation and one of the ways we do this is through The Gleaning Project. We collect and gather surplus produce to remove bear attractants as well as decrease potential bear-human conflict. The excess food is utilized by Community Connections Food Bank and enhances the nutritional value of hampers rather than being wasted.
Recently there have been two incidents where people are claiming to be Revelstoke Bear Aware Volunteers without our knowledge. In both cases, people were trespassing and picking fruit without the landowner’s permission or Revelstoke Bear Aware’s consent. Revelstoke Bear Aware would like to clarify how The Gleaning Project operates to ensure this valuable program is a success.
We ask people to remove and pick all their fruit to ensure bear attractants are removed, but do not advocate for people to pick fruit on other peoples property, even if bears are being attracted to the area. Rather, call Revelstoke Bear Aware and we will distribute information regarding The Gleaning Project to the homeowner.
Residents who are unable to pick fruit, are away when fruit is ripening or have excess fruit can contact Revelstoke Bear Aware to arrange for it to be harvested by our volunteers. In all cases, Revelstoke Bear Aware gains permission from landowners to be on their property. Many residents are very thankful to have Revelstoke Bear Aware harvest fruit they are unable to pick and are welcome to keep some of the fruit. We wish to continue building good relationships with residents who use this valuable community service.
The Gleaning Project would not be a success without the dedication and hard work of our volunteers. So far this season, Revelstoke Bear Aware volunteers have contributed over 45 volunteer hours and donated 135lbs of cherries, 385lbs of plums and 40lbs of apples to Community Connections Food Bank. Volunteers with The Gleaning Project are asked to sign a waiver and are welcome to keep some of the fruit for their own use.
The number of bear sightings within Revelstoke has greatly increased since mid to late August as bears are in search for high calorie foods in preparation for winter denning. Bears have been sighted in every area of Revelstoke this fall. The number one bear attractant in our community is garbage, followed secondly by fruit. We need to be extra vigilant about securing our garbage and picking fruit as soon as it is ripe and not allowing fruit to rot on the ground. We do not want to welcome bears into our community by allowing them to access attractants such a garbage and fruit.
The Gleaning Project prevents food from going to waste, provides produce to people in need, and helps to keep our community safe from bears! Revelstoke Bear Aware is very proud of this initiative, which benefits of our community in so many ways.
Please contact Revelstoke Bear Aware at 250-837-8624 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in taking part in The Gleaning Project. To learn more about becoming a Bear Smart Community and to read about recent bear sighting in your neighborhood, please visit our website at www.revelstokebearaware.org. To report bear sightings or problem bears please call the RAPP Line at 1-877-7277.