Chuck Bartlebaugh has spent more than thirty years traveling across North America and Canada photographing and monitoring bears. He also monitors how people get into trouble with bears, and what was needed to change this problem. Be Bear Aware includes the participation of federal and state wildlife and land management agencies, hunting and fishing organizations, outfitters and guides associations, community groups, and youth groups such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. The Be Bear Aware campaign provides bear avoidance educational materials, training programs, displays, videos, and Power Point presentations. Chuck has researched human wildlife conflicts extensively, studying why an increasing number of people are attempting to approach and interact with wild animals.
Early in 1990, Chuck coordinated an intensive study of visitors to Yellowstone National Park in partnership with Eastern Michigan University professors and students, which revealed that many park visitors had little or no information or wrong information about how to view and photograph wildlife safely and responsibly. The study showed that conflicts between visitors and wildlife occurred because the animals were startled into a defensive response by aggressive tourists that the animals treated as a threat to their space, food, and or young. His studies also included monitoring television shows, advertisements, books, magazines, and school programs where he found that there is an increase in misinformation that provides a dangerously misleading message that is okay to approach, touch, interact with, and even feed wild animals.
Chuck's studies have also included bear biologists, interpretive specialists, campground hosts, and agency personnel. He has traveled extensively photographing and observing human wildlife interactions in national parks, forests and refuges in the lower 48 states, Canada, and Alaska. He has also spent many hours interviewing hunters, anglers, and other outdoor recreation enthusiasts. He firmly believes that those people who have a heritage of working and recreating safely and responsibly in the outdoors are the best resource for information for the Campaign's wildlife safety and stewardship materials and training programs.
The Be Bear Aware Campaign's research clearly demonstrated the need for an educational program that would provide the public with clear, concise, and sound information about how to enjoy wildlife safely and responsibly. Chuck is especially proud of the Campaign's Train-the-Trainer Program, which provides adults and older youth with the training and presentation skills to teach younger members of their organizations, schools, and communities the appropriate safety and wildlife stewardship techniques to avoid conflicts with wild animals. Graduates of the training program in turn train others to become trainers.
The Be Bear Aware Campaign also provides a variety of hunter safety information. Printed materials include the Safety for People, Safety for Bears Outfitters Workshop Course, the Hunting in Bear Country brochure, the Who's Who black bear grizzly bear identification brochures, and bear spray videos, training guides and brochures. The Campaign also offers the Bear Encounter Series videotape, which includes three programs: Who's Who (black bear grizzly bear identification), Bear Spray, and Hunting in Bear Country.
To learn more about the Be Bear Aware and Wildlife Stewardship Campaign, to obtain materials, or for support in implementing a Train-the-Trainer Program in your area, contact Chuck Bartlebaugh at 406-239-2315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.