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Learn about bears, have family fun at Forgotten Coast Black Bear Festival


For immediate release: October 12, 2011
Media contact: Jessica Basham, 850-528-1759

Learn about bears, have family fun at Forgotten Coast Black Bear Festival

As fall settles into the Big Bend, the Florida black bear begins foraging for winter. It’s a perfect time to celebrate the state’s largest land mammal.

Come out for the third annual Forgotten Coast Black Bear Festival, an event dedicated to helping people understand and live in harmony with the Florida black bear.

The family-oriented festival is Saturday, Oct. 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Sands Park in Carrabelle. The festival is free and a great way for families to spend the day together doing something fun and educational.

The small, Gulf-side community of Carrabelle is in Franklin County, which sits in the heart of Apalachicola National Forest, one of Florida’s biggest undeveloped habitats for black bears.

“Our goal is for festival-goers to learn everything they always wanted to know about the Florida black bear – and more,” said David Telesco, bear management program coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). “Helping people understand bear behavior is one of the primary goals for the festival. If people who live in bear country understand what makes bears tick, they will know what they can do to discourage bears from hanging around in their neighborhoods.”

Telesco will offer informative presentations about black bears and their biology. Betsy Knight will tell interesting stories about wildlife rehabilitation, and Laurie McDonald of Defenders of Wildlife will share tips on how to coexist with black bears.

Other activities at the festival include exciting tours into bear habitat with Adam Warwick, an FWC biologist who gained instant fame by rescuing a black bear from drowning in the bay off Alligator Point. Join us in the storytelling tent, where you can sit on hay bales and enjoy stories from local authors or listen to great music by locally renowned southern rock and blues band King Cotton and folk musician Dale Crider.

Bring your kids to the “Come Be a Bear” activity, and watch them transform into a black bear and learn about the life of a bear through the seasons.

The festival is presented by the FWC, Defenders of Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, Florida Forest Service, city of Carrabelle and the Franklin County Tourist Development Council. For more information about the third annual Forgotten Coast Black Bear Festival visit http://www.mycarrabelle.com or call the festival coordinator, Allen Loyd at 727-823-3888.