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."

    
    Disponible en français
                               ontario.ca/mnr
    




For further information:

For further information: Media Calls Only: David Bauer, Minister's
Office, (416) 314-2212; Rick Winston, Communications Services Branch, (416)
314-2123

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Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

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