COAST to CASCADES hired a new Outreach Coordinator for the campaign in August of this year. Claire Ruddy is based in Whistler and helped organise the hugely successful 'Night with Grizzlies' event C2C hosted in April, which (rather helpfully) meant she was able to hit the ground running. With summer markets and events in full swing we booked into events all along the Sea-to-Sky from Squamish to Lillooet.
So far, through our outreach at events, we have shared the plight of southwest BC grizzlies with over 500 people and we are still going strong. As connect with people about all things grizzly bear there are a number of recurring themes we have noticed.
- Raising Awareness Is Key: many people know that we are in grizzly country, but they simply aren't aware that our surrounding populations are threatened and / or just how low population numbers have dropped.
- Grizzly Bears Are Icons: many in the Sea to Sky see grizzly bears as synonymous with open wild spaces here in Canada. An accurate association because grizzlies need healthy natural ecosystems and space to roam (to seasonal foods and mates) in order to thrive. The feeling that if we loose grizzlies we have lost more than just the bears is evident in many that connect with us.
- People Care About Grizzly Bears: grizzlies have been given an 'aggressive' and 'scary' image throughout history, however people see through this and understand that these animals are doing their best to stay away from human activity. People are supportive of our efforts and want to do what they can to help, so future generations get to see grizzlies not just survive, but thrive.
Farmers markets, Fall Fairs, nature focused community events, wine festivals and speaker events have proven to be great ways to connect with people from all backgrounds. Other outreach activities carried out by C2C focus on building political support for grizzly bear recovery and working with the ranching community to remove the potential for livestock conflicts with grizzlies.
If you would like to connect with us about any of our outreach activities or have an event you think C2C should be a part of please get in touch via our contact form.
Article by Claire Ruddy, COASTtoCASCADES Outreach Coordinator