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Elementary schools are becoming bear smart

Thursday, 19 May 2016. Posted in Shootin' the Breeze

Elementary schools are becoming bear smart

The municipality installs a bear-proof bin at Isabelle Sellon School, thanks also to the Crowsnest Conservation Society and a TD Friends of the Environment Foundation grant.   Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Anderson

 

Elementary schools are becoming bear smart

 

By Brad Quarin

Crowsnest Pass elementary schools are a little safer for both children and bears after the Crowsnest Conservation Society and the municipality helped install new bear-proof bins in April.

“I think it’s absolutely wonderful,” says Myrna Dembicki, assistant principal at Horace Allen School. She notes that bears have been seen near the Coleman school.

Two bins, containing compartments for both garbage and recycling, were installed at HAS and Isabelle Sellon School fields and playgrounds, says Elizabeth Anderson of the conservation society.

ISS previously had no bear-proof bins, and the one at HAS wasn’t ideal, she says.

Myrna explains that the new ones are sturdier, and more like the bear-proof bins you might find in a campground.

The cost of the project was nearly $5,000. A significant portion of this was covered by a TD Friends of the Environment Foundation grant, Elizabeth says. Municipal staff received and installed the bins.

The project was also in partnership with the University of Alberta, which sent grad student Annie Loosen to give presentations at both schools on May 16.

Annie is conducting a study of bear hairs in the area in order to gauge the bear population. She will use this occasion to provide general information on grizzlies and black bears to HAS and ISS students.

This is fitting since the bins are a protection against black bears as well as grizzlies.

 

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From the May 18, 2016 print edition of Shootin’ the Breeze.

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