18 April 2012 Helping Florida Residents Be Black Bear Aware Posted by: Caitlin Leutwiler | 1 comment | Share: One man’s trash is a Florida black bear’s treasure. And unless you take action to keep your garbage out of reach, you could play host to one of these furry foragers over and over again. Fortunately, Defenders is on the job. As part of our efforts to help Sunshine State residents live safely in bear country, we provide support for placing bear-proof dumpsters in locations around the state. Watch this video to learn more about our dumpster project in De Leon Springs State Park–and the instant results it saw–from Defenders’ Laurie Macdonald and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Mike Orlando. Photo courtesy Allen Loyd. 13th Annual Black Bear Festival a Success Last month, Defenders staff and our 12 volunteers were proud to host the 13th Annual Black Bear Festival in Umatilla, Florida, the “Gateway to the Ocala National Forest” and prime black bear country. With live music, good food, arts and crafts and field trips to the Ocala National Forest and Black Bear Scenic Highway, it was a day of family fun but also education for the nearly three thousand Sunshine State residents who attended on how to live peacefully alongside a rebounding bear population. To the right, Defenders’ Shannon Miller demonstrates how to build a livestock enclosure to help protect hobby livestock and pets from predators such as black bears. Bears Get Love in Alaska, Too! Since many of Alaska’s bears emerge from dens in early spring, April was the ideal time for Governor Sean to declare “Bear Awareness Month” throughout the Last Frontier. The move is an effort to “encourage all Alaskans to educate themselves on the importance of awareness and safety issues surrounding Alaska’s bears and wildlife, thereby helping to ensure the future of our Alaskan wildlife heritage.” Adopt a Black Bear to Save Real Animals in the Wild Black bear adoptions are a great way to share your appreciation for this keystone species while helping to support Defenders’ work on their behalf. Save Something Wild! Visit our Wildlife Adoption Center to adopt a black bear or one of our 26 other imperiled animals today! One Response to “Helping Florida Residents Be Black Bear Aware” Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Safety Pens Mean Peace of Mind in Panther Country For Floridians who live alongside Florida panthers, coexistence means finding ways to protect both their beloved pets and these critically endangered cats. Building an enclosure is a great solution, especially for backyard animals. It’s Time to Act for Right Whales Years after they agreed to expand critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales, we’re still waiting on NMFS to follow through. So we took to the courts to get this much-needed protection in place. How Should We Honor Earth Day? America has many worldwide firsts in conservation: we were the first nation to establish a national park, the first to create a national wildlife refuge, the first to approve a law protecting endangered species and the first to create a national day dedicated to conservation, Earth Day. But today, we are experiencing another period of crisis in America’s commitment to conservation. When did conservation become a polarizing political issue, when it has been, for the past century, a defining characteristic of American values and the American spirit?