All of Idaho is black bear country. Many parts of the Upper Snake Region are once again seeing grizzly bear activity, so it only makes sense that the agency responsible for managing bears would work to help the public learn how to safely live, work, and recreate in bear country.  On Monday, November 12, Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) will be hosting a free workshop to share with the public what it takes to be smarter than the average bear. The multi-media presentation will start with the basics of bear biology and wrap up with learning how to react to a bear encounter.

The workshop is the creation of IDFG Regional Conservation Educator, Gregg Losinski.  According to Losinski, “Bears are all around us; so rather than live in fear, this workshop will work to educate about the basics of bear biology, how they interact with humans, and how we can help prevent trouble.” Losinski has been working to educate the public about bear safety for twenty years and heads up the Information & Education Committees for both the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee (YES) and its larger parent organization, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC). The workshop will build upon his years of experience and collection of thousands of bear related images, videos, and experiences.

In addition to a presentation segment, the workshop will feature educational and hands-on components.  “Everyone who attends the workshop will have a chance to see what life is like for our bears, as well as have a chance to learn how bears interact with humans.” said Losinski. Every participant will have the chance to check out special equipment designed to keep bears from getting into human related trouble and for humans to survive bear encounters. The use of firearms for personnel self-defense will also be discussed and recent bear incidents in Island Park will be discussed.

The purpose of the workshop is to provide factual information to the public regarding the bears that are part of Idaho’s natural wildlife heritage. Because some of the information discussed will be of a mature nature, the workshop is recommended for adults only. The program will take place at the IDFG Regional Headquarters at 4279 Commerce Circle in the St. Leon Business Park in Idaho Falls. Individuals with disabilities may request accommodations by contacting Gregg Losinski at IDFG at 525-7290 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-3529(TDD). The workshop will run from 7 – 9 PM.  Registration is not required, but as part of a social media experiment, attendees are encouraged to go to http://yogi.eventbrite.com and indicate that they plan on attending. Participants will receive a packet of useful bear education materials and be eligible for door prizes, including canisters of bear spray.

Image courtesy Idaho Department of Fish and Game

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