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Bear basics with Bernadette




Big Sky is located in some of the best bear habitat in Montana. Not surprisingly bears are seen regularly in Big Sky and can become conditioned to come in close proximity to people. The Bear Smart Big Sky Committee is excited to introduce “Bernadette Bear,” a cartoon-like “spokesbear” who is not joking around about bear safety and the efforts required to reduce bear conflicts in Big Sky.

This new column will report on important bear safe topics, provide tips and information, and educate about bear facts and more.

Your role in reducing conflicts in Big Sky and the Greater Yellowstone Region is critical to the safety of the community and our furry neighbors. Please follow “Bear Smart Big Sky” on Instagram and Facebook to learn what actions you can take to live responsibly in bear country.

A project of the global organization, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Bear Smart Big Sky’s mission is to develop a greater public understanding of bear behavior and actions that should be taken to reduce negative interactions between people and bears. Being a bear smart community is a collaborative effort that requires everyone’s participation—from both local residents and visitors alike—to keep bears safe and in the wild.

With the introduction of Bernadette Bear, the goal is to educate the Big Sky community, its residents, employees, and visitors about the actions they can take to reduce human-caused bear conflicts. Simple examples include using bear-resistant trash containers, keeping garage doors closed, and feeding pets inside, just to name a few.

Don’t forget to post photos of bear sightings and check in with Bernadette Bear on Instagram @bearsmartbigsky and #bernadettebear. Please help support Bernadette in her campaign to create a more bear-safe and bear-aware community in Big Sky.

Joseph T. O'Connor is the previous Editor-in-Chief for EBS newspaper and Mountain Outlaw magazine.

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