By Ophir School’s first grade teachers and students

The first grade classes have been studying bears in science since school began. We’ve learned the scientific skills of categorizing and classifying, taking notes and observation. We studied unique characteristics of polar bears, black bears and grizzlies, and took a field trip to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone in late September.

For our final science lesson, we invited Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Warden Adam Pankratz to come and speak to us about being bear aware. Encouraged by Warden Pankratz’s public service, we wanted to let our community know what we’ve learned. We hope you enjoy our article and are motivated to become a bear aware household.

To be bear aware at home:

1. Keep your grill clean. (Joe)

2. Don’t keep your garbage out at night. Take it out in the morning. (Henry)

3. Pick up apples from the apple tree. (Brandt)

4. Make sure you don’t leave the windows open in your car. (Sadie) Don’t leave food in your car. (Grady)

To be bear aware in the woods:

1. Hang your food so the bears don’t get it. (Alice) It needs to be 100 yards from your tent. (Finn) It needs to be high up from the ground, far out on a branch. (Hazel)

2. Lock food in the back of your truck. (Frieda)

3. You can put your food in a bear-proof container if you’re on the river. (Haley)

4. If you’re fishing and you skin your fish with a jack knife, the bears could easily smell it (Wats). Keep the fish guts far away from your tent. Throw them in the water. (Aubrey)

5. If you’re hunting, you should always put the deer in the back of your truck and bring it home into the garage. (Jack)

6. Stay with your group when you’re hiking. (Jillian) Sing songs and be loud. (Chloe)

7. Remind your parents to bring bear spray. (Arlo)

8. Don’t go near bear traps. (Marley) It could close and hurt you really bad. (Jayden) There’s a bear nearby. (Teal)

What happens if I see a bear?

1.Never scream or run from a bear. (Addy) Just back away. (Dean)

2. If one is charging at you, kneel down and cover your head. (Wren)

3. Take the cap off of your bear spray and point it in the bear’s face. (Ryder) Make a big wall (with the bear spray). (Garin)

4. Don’t walk toward the bear. Stay far away from it. (Maya)