Several times this spring, I have presented my research results at conferences and meetings with Parks Canada staff. Every presentation I do is a little different. Sometimes I’m nervous, sometimes I’m not. Sometimes the questions are good, and sometimes they aren’t. To be honest though, the presentations I like the most are the public presentations and there is one coming up in Calgary. You should come!
Why I love talking to the public
People are using bear habitat all the time, but most people either don’t think about it or only think about the risks associated with being in bear habitat. But there’s so much more to it than that. There’s also the bear’s side of the story – what does he or she think about all the people using the trail? How do they change their habitat use in response to that? In essence, that’s part of what I’m trying to answer with my PhD, and the complexity of the answers that make me love bears.
The main reason why I love talking to the public is the opportunity to share bear research, stories, and long tales. Yes, it’s a chance to share my research results, but more than that it’s a chance to talk to people about how they see bears and to discuss any preconceived notions they may have. In Alberta, many people know about bears and have had encounters with bears. Even so, there are a lot of myths out there about bears and how they are with people. As a biologist, I think it’s partly my responsibility to talk with people and help them see and understand bears from a slightly different perspective.
Maybe with a few public talks, I can help people see bears the way that I do – as large, patient animals who are mostly just trying to get through the day without getting in to trouble (from other bears or people).
And it’s fun because the average person asks the most interesting questions. Every time.
The Upcoming Presentation
So now it’s time to share my results with you in a casual, fun evening in Calgary. I’m going to do a presentation about my results but also talk about my volunteer program and other similar volunteer programs in Alberta. I’ll also talk a little about closing the loop from research to management to policy – how in the bear world, we all work together to actually make a difference for bears on the ground.
Working with volunteers is pretty special to me. Sharing with you the results of my research and how they feed directly into management decisions actually means that all of my volunteers have actively contributed to grizzly bear management in Alberta. And I think that’s pretty awesome.
Come on out the evening of June 23rd to share a great chat with me and some of my volunteers. The talk and questions go from 7-8pm; then we’ll head over to the Barley Mill for a couple drinks and continue chatting. The whole thing is going to be at Eau Claire Market in downtown Calgary and you can book a free ticket through the CPAWS Southern Alberta website.
I’m excited to partner with CPAWS to host this event, which is part of a grant we received from the Banff Community Foundation. Come join us for a great evening.