The B.E.A.R. Task Force had a lot of interest in their informative display and raffle tickets for Pat Calderone’s beautiful bear painting during the Village Square Art & Craft Show Aug. 25-26. During the event B.E.A.R. took in $2000 in donations and ticket sales.
The winner of the painting, which is valued at $2,500, is Kate Raulerson of Sky Valley. She is a friend and student of Patty’s and has been an ardent supporter of her, so Pat was very pleased. Calderone is owner of the Calderone Gallery in Sky Valley. She is a seasoned painter who also teaches art and loves bears. She offered to paint a bear and raffle it to benefit the task force.
Pat worked on the painting both days of the event and enjoyed talking to people and hearing their bear stories. B.E.A.R. volunteers also heard a LOT of bear stories.
This has been a particularly busy summer, bear-wise. Most incidents reported were peaceful, but some were of serious concern. A man in the Harris Lake area had a bear charge at him and a woman with a baby carriage. His dog came between them and chased off the bear. A woman in Cullasaja Club had two dogs injured by a bear. Other reports included a person who found a cub locked in a dumpster, its mother distressed and pacing. The man opened the lid, and the cub escaped unharmed. A bear at Cullasaja Club got into a woman’s house and cleaned out the fridge and the granola bars in the cupboard. Surprisingly it did no damage. Another bear took someone’s golf bag into the woods and dumped out the clubs, probably hoping to find something to eat.
The task force will be hearing a lot more stories this fall, as a UNC intern is helping B.E.A.R. develop a Bear Management Plan to present to the Town of Highlands. Thanks to the Highlands Biological Station’s internship program, Mitchell Ryan will be interviewing town employees, such as the mayor, police and garbage men, as well as HOA’s, country clubs, home and business owners, real estate companies, and restauranteurs.
Information about bear incidents, bear habitat, food sources, denning sites, and human activity that is contributing to problems is necessary for creating a plan to avoid/address human-bear conflicts. Anyone interested in being interviewed or sharing information is welcome to contact Chairwoman Cynthia Strain at (828) 526-9227 or BEARWNC@gmail.com.
Cynthia Strain, Chairwoman
B.E.A.R. TASK FORCE