A Rocha’s Buck Creek Nature Centre will be hosting a Bear Aware Storywalk from Sept. 23 —27.
A story walk is a series of signs that have a story about something on them that families can visit and read together. They encourage fitness, literacy and community. Houston Link to Learning, theDze L’ Kant Friendship centre and the nature centre have been hosting story walks in various places around Houston this summer.
According to A Rocha Project Coordinator Cindy Verbeek, The Bear Aware Storywalk will feature pages from a coloring book called Be Bear Aware written by Mary Ruskovich and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Coloring pages will also be available at the nature ventre for people to pick up.
Houston Today asked Verbeek about the goal of the storywalk, which she said has to do with preventing bear and human interactions as much as possible, which will in turn prevent bear deaths.
“This time of year is crucial for the survival of the bears on many levels. As far as their natural rhythms go they are bulking up and eating as much as they can to prepare for hibernation when they will not eat for the entire winter. It is also important for their survival because this is the time of year when the most human/bear interactions happen in Houston. Unfortunately this means that bears are reported and problem bears are killed to keep humans safe.”
Verbeek also gave Houston Today several tips to minimizing bear deaths from a pamphlet called Be Bear Smart. Some of the suggestions include; eliminate attractants by removing or securing food so that bears can’t get at it, minimizing smelly food odours so bears aren’t attracted such as composts and BBQs, and clearing brush or otherwise strive to keep sight lines open around your house so that bears don’t feel comfortable loitering and so you can see bears that are nearby.
Talking to others about taking action to prevent conflict and living more peacefully alongside bears is also important, as is being prepared and leaning about staying safe in bear country so you know how to respond safely to a bear. Both of which are points of emphasis for the story walk.
Verbeek told Houston Today that a little black bear that visited the nature centre two weekends ago. “It was eating the last of the Saskatoon berries in our backyard and has been seen walking up and down the dike. It’s such a privilege to live in a place where we can see these animals. Let’s keep them and people safe,” she said.
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