Wildlife awareness talks and bear spray training sessions are two common ways that WildSmart teaches adult residents and visitors about how to stay safe in bear country. (Kids are also included!) Local businesses often request these programs, incorporating them into their orientation courses for both seasonal and permanent staff.
Our bear spray training sessions give participants the chance to feel comfortable with bear spray before they find themselves in a high-pressure situation. Attendees are equipped with a can of inert bear spray, which they can uncap, point and shoot. Typically, a cut-out black bear silhouette is used to help participants better understand the size of an animal and the effective range of the spray.
Wildlife awareness talks teach audiences about local wildlife, what we know about them, and how we can use that information to avoid potential conflicts at home, in town, and on the trail (and how to handle those encounters if they do occur). WildSmart often delivers wildlife awareness talks and bear spray training together.
WildSmart also leads interactive, experiential bear hikes. During these hikes, participants experience various bear “encounters” on the trail (acted out by costumed volunteers), giving the hikers an opportunity to learn how to react appropriately in a more realistic field scenario.
Finally, WildSmart hosts booths at many community events, encouraging participants to ask questions about a variety of wildlife-related topics. We use props and visuals to steer conversations toward reducing negative human-wildlife interactions.