The purpose of the Get Bear Smart Society (GBS), formerly know as the Jennifer Jones Whistler Bear Society, is to protect the well–being and lives of bears by establishing a healthier co–existence between people and bears.
The GBS seeks to reduce the number of “problem” bears destroyed in BC by increasing public understanding and appreciation of bears; educating people on dealing with bears in their communities; and promoting non–lethal bear management practices among wildlife managers.
GBS programs include workshops, seminars and Bear Smart presentations to the public; website, distribution of information through flyers, pamphlets and guidebooks; and an extensive advertisement campaign (print, radio, cable TV). The GBS programs seek not only to protect the lives of bears, but also create a safer environment for community members that live or recreate in bear country.
As a result of programs initiated by GBS, the number of human–bear conflicts and the number of “problem” bears destroyed in Whistler has dropped by about 75%! The RMOW successfully completed the criteria established by the BC Ministry of Environment to become a Bear Smart Community in September of 2011.
In the summer of 2004, the AFOW granted $10,000 to the GBS to assist it in its Bear Smart Presentation Series and related educational materials for the Whistler community, including playing cards with a Bear Smart trivia game containing important bear smart tips. Again in 2012, AFOW granted $8,875 for a new series of cards. Get Bear Smart playing cards are now sold in several merchants throughout the Whistler village and on-line. These playing cards have resulted in sales proceeds directly to the GBS well in excess of our initial donation.