Revelstoke Bear Aware launches crowd funding for Gleaning Project

Revelstoke Bear Aware seeking funding to expand Gleaning Project fruit picking program.

  • Jun. 29, 2015 12:00 p.m.

Contributed by Revelstoke Bear Aware

Over the past few years Bear Aware has been very active when it comes to harvesting excess fruit in Revelstoke. Several years ago, Bear Aware realized a need to help people who could not harvest their own ripe fruit and were leaving it for the bears.

To fill this need Bear Aware created the Gleaning Project, which brings volunteers to unmanaged fruit trees (with the owner’s permission), harvests the fruit, and takes it to the food bank. The Gleaning Project has been harvesting in excess of 2000 pounds of fruit annually to help the community reduce human bear conflict. Now they need your help.

“The Gleaning Project costs Bear Aware in coordinator hours, phone bills, and vehicle expenses each year, and we gratefully accept membership fees and donations to help fund it, but we need to grow the project to include more trees, and that requires more funding,” said Sue Davies, Coordinator for Bear Aware.

This year, Axis Mundi has generously offered to help with a crowd-funding campaign aimed at raising funds for an expanded Gleaning and Canning Project, which will also include engaging kids in the whole process.

“I want to contact all those people who have not yet taken advantage of the project, and who let their fruit fall and rot on the ground, because letting fruit rot on the ground really steps up the attraction to bears,” said Davies.

“This year – depending on funding – we will be pro-actively visiting those people with fruit trees that are not being harvested. We will offer the Gleaning Project services to fruit tree owners and we hope that increased uptake of the service will provide lots of fresh local fruit for humans, and much less of an attractant to our ursine neighbours.”

In addition to the harvest, the Local Food Initiative will be working with groups of local kids to engage them in the process of turning the fruit into canned or dried fruit, much of which will also be donated to the food bank.

Bear Aware does so much to help our community live in harmony with our town mascots. Now it is time to show your support. Visit www.gofundme.com/kidscanproject to learn more about the project and to donate to this excellent local cause.

If you have a tree that you cannot manage to harvest, or if you want to help with the harvesting (and get to take home lots of fresh, local fruit) please email beaware@telus.net or call Sue Davies on 250 837 8624.

Bear Aware would like to thank Axis Mundi for setting up the crowd-funding event, and CBT, CP Rail, Bresco Industries, Revelstoke Credit Union, Revelstoke Community Foundation, BC Gaming, and Parks Canada for their support of the Bear Aware Program.

For more information about reducing conflict with bears please see revelstokebearaware.org. To receive and share valuable local information about bear activity in Revelstoke, like Bear Aware on Facebook at Facebook.com/revelstokebearaware. To report bear sightings or conflicts with bears please call the 24-hour hotline at 1-877-952 RAPP (7277).