If you have any colleagues who are recent immigrants to Canada, and if you’ve ever mentioned to them that you like to go camping, you’ll undoubtedly be aware that Canada has a bizarre international reputation as a giant frozen wasteland covered with ravening bears which will tear you limb from limb at the least opportunity. Even Australians — who one might think would laugh in the face of bears given their own country’s extraordinarily dangerous wildlife — are impressed by Canadians’ insouciance in the face of the great bear menace.
This is totally not going to help:
Students To Learn To Be Bear Wise
McGuinty Government Launches New Program For Elementary Schools
SUDBURY, ON, Feb. 15 /CNW/ – Elementary school students can now learn about black bears and their behaviour thanks to a new teacher’s guide developed by the Ontario government.
The Black Bear Ecology Education Program for grades 2, 4 and 7 was developed in partnership with the Trent Centre for Community-Based Education and Trent University. Linked to the Science and Technology curriculum, it provides teachers with background readings, lesson plans and classroom activities about black bear biology, why human-bear interactions happen and how they can be prevented.
Teachers who piloted the program in schools in Englehart and Peterborough gave it excellent reviews. The program has also been recommended by Curriculum Services Canada, and is available at ontario.ca/bearwise. Hard copies will be distributed to schools north of Highway 7 by the end of February.
“Through our existing Bear Wise program, we’re working to increase awareness about black bears and their biology,” said Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield. “As part of the province’s commitment to conserving biodiversity, it made sense to help teachers include one of Ontario’s best-known species in lessons about the environment and animal behaviour.”
“Englehart Public School is pleased to have participated in the pilot of the Black Bear Ecology Program,” said Principal Angela Parker. “Many of our students have encountered bears, so the program is very relevant and it generated a lot of interest and discussion.”
The four-year-old Bear Wise program provides funding for communities to become more bear aware and continues to have real results across the North, from teaching children what to do should they encounter a bear, to reducing the number of calls about bears received by the Ministry of Natural Resources and community police forces. Bear Wise includes additional educational materials such as an electronic book for schools, a Bear Wise activity book, and the “bear in a box,” an educational tool that ministry staff use to teach bear awareness.
“Children who learn about bears can pass on the information to their families and friends,” said Rick Bartolucci, MPP for Sudbury. “Like our Bear Wise website and phone line, this program will help people understand the behaviour of bears and reduce bear problems, and that’s a huge win for our community.”
It does look like a good resource though.