2022 marks the seventh annual BC Goes Wild campaign with WildSafeBC. There are events taking place in Nakusp, Arrow Lakes and surrounding areas for the entire month of September. (Photo courtesy WildSafeBC)

2022 marks the seventh annual BC Goes Wild campaign with WildSafeBC. There are events taking place in Nakusp, Arrow Lakes and surrounding areas for the entire month of September. (Photo courtesy WildSafeBC)

WildSafeBC returns with seventh annual Go Wild program

WildSafeBC Arrow-Slocan Lakes is back in action as fall approaches, and there are a number of upcoming events and workshops to take part in.

This year marks the seventh annual BC Goes Wild campaign, taking place the entire month of September.

“September is historically a month where human-bear conflicts are at their highest,” explained Cora Skaien, WildSafeBC Coordinator for Arrow-Slocan Lakes. “BC Goes Wild coincides with this month to bring awareness to these issues while also promoting ways we can live, work, play and grow in wildlife country.”

Community coordinators will be hosting events in communities across B.C., including events like nature walks, fruit presses, bear spray demonstrations, wildlife art and more.

There is also a photo contest for the whole province, and anyone can participate by sharing wildlife activities and tagging WildSafeBC.

In the Arrow-Slocan Lakes region, Skaien will be hosting BC Goes Wild Events throughout the month.

The first is a bear spray demo workshop at Shon’s Bike Shop in Nakusp on Saturday, Sept. 10 from 2p.m. to 3p.m.

There will be an electric fencing workshop aimed at keeping bears out of properties, co-hosted by Grizzly Bear Coexistence Solutions, in Burton on Sept. 13 from 6:30p.m. to 8:30p.m.

Mid-September (date to be determined) there will be an art excursion with the New Denver Daycare and pre-school children.

WildSafeBC will also be at the farmers markets in New Denver and Nakusp throughout September.

“We are also investigating the possibility of an electric fencing workshop in the Winlaw region with the Valhalla Wilderness Society Area H Bear Smart Program,” Skaien said.

Skaien adds that there are three Community Perceptions of Bears surveys being circulated for Nakusp, New Denver and Silverton, that are open until Sept. 30. A link to the survey is available on the WildSafeBC Arrow-Slocan Lakes Facebook page, or you can email arrowslocanlakes@wildsafebc.com for a link.

As bears begin to prepare for hibernation, Skaien says WildSafeBC wants to remind residents of the importance of being proactive with their fruit management this fall.

It’s important, she says, to pick up windfall, harvest fruits when they are ripe or shortly before, and use electric fencing if necessary.

“In New Denver and Silverton, Harvest Share has a few loaner electric fences that can be set up for free – residents must purchase their own ground rod and provide extension cord, but otherwise we have the fence, energizer, etc. – and has a network of fruit gleaning volunteers available to provide an exchange of services (gleaning) for fruit,” Skaien said. “Please request fruit gleaners when your fruits are still edible so that the gleaners can take edible fruit home, and a few days in advance of when your fruits are ready to be collected so that volunteers can be contacted with sufficient notice.”

Harvest Share will also be hosting Windfall Wednesdays again this September – dates soon to be announced.

Contact Harvest Share at ndharvestshare@gmail.com for more information and to request a loaner electric fence for fruit trees, or for volunteer fruit gleaners to share your fruits with.

In Nakusp, contact the Root and Branch Harvest group for fruit gleaning possibilities by contacting Linda via their Facebook Page.

The WildSafeBC photo contest will have two categories to participate in this year: BC Wildlife and Keeping Wildlife Wild.

“The BC Wildlife category is for your favourite photos of BC wildlife in their habitat that have been taken following our Photography Ethics on our website. WildSafeBC recognizes that taking photos of wildlife can sometimes put people and wildlife at risk. As such, WildSafeBC has developed Photography Ethics that should be followed to prevent negative impacts on wildlife or put people at risk,” said Skaien.

“The next category, Keeping Wildlife Wild, encourages you to submit pictures that illustrate ways of preventing negative interactions with wildlife. This can include: hiking with your pet on leash, keeping your garbage indoors, keeping a ‘bare’ campsite, packing out garbage from a favourite camping spot etc.”

WildSafeBC says to share the story behind your photo when you post it. The contest runs until Sept. 30 and there is no limit on the number of entries.

Last but not least, the WildSafeBC colouring contest is open from now until Nov. 30. Colouring sheets are available to print online and can be submitted online as well. At the end of November there will be a random draw for a winner, province-wide, with the prize of $50 as well as animal pins and a WildSafeBC hat.

For more information on all upcoming events, contests and the survey visit www.wildsafebc.com and be sure to follow along on the WildSafeBC Arrow-Slocan Lakes Facebook page.