The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is seeking talented teen filmmakers for its first-ever “Bear Aware” Youth Film Contest. Cash prizes will be awarded for the top three short films that most effectively educate the public about the importance of keeping black bears wild and preventing them from becoming habituated to humans, with a focus on bears in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“Human carelessness with food and garbage is attracting bears to populated areas and putting them at risk,” said DFG Bear Program Coordinator Marc Kenyon. “People who live in or visit bear habitat have a responsibility to the wildlife whose habitat they are sharing. We hope that by recruiting young, talented filmmakers, we can get the message out about what the public can do to help keep bears in the wild.”

High school students are asked to create 90-second films using specific messaging provided by DFG. The top three films (as selected by DFG) will win $500 for first place, $300 for second place and $200 for third place. The general public will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite entry online. The People’s Choice Award will receive a $100 gift card donated by REI.

In addition, the first-place winners will have the opportunity to accompany DFG staff on a rehabilitated bear cub release in spring 2012. DFG will use the videos as part of a “Bear Aware” campaign to educate residents and visitors to the Tahoe area.

Because of the focus on the Tahoe Basin, the contest is open to high school students in DFG’s North Central Region, which includes the following counties: Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lake, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba. The deadline for entries is Jan. 31, 2012. Full contest details, stock bear footage available to the entrants and approved “Bear Aware” messages are provided on the film contest website at For more information, contact DFG’s Office of Communication, Education and Outreach at (916) 322-8962.

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