Contact: Silvio Marcacci
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J. — Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes announced today that the Mercer County Park Commission, in conjunction with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife (NJDFW) and the New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, will convene a “Bear Awareness” seminar, open to the public, to be held on Monday, June 19th, 2006 at 7:00 PM in the Boathouse located in Mercer County Park, West Windsor. 

The free seminar will discuss the history of black bears in New Jersey, bear biology, the expansion of New Jersey’s bear population, how black bears become habituated, and explain NJDFW’s black bear research and management program.  In addition, attendees will learn what they should do if they encounter a black bear, how to “bear proof” their residence, and other tips to minimize conflicts between bears and people.  The seminar will feature guest speaker Kelcey Burguess, NJDFW Black Bear Project Leader. In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to meet “Cyngen,” one of NJDFW’s “Bear Dogs”.

“Both human and black bear populations have increased greatly in New Jersey since the 1980’s, and as a result, bears and people are coming into contact with each other more than ever before, including several recent sightings in Trenton,” said Hughes.  “This has raised questions and concerns among many residents, prompting us to organized this seminar to proactively answer these questions and concerns and provide information to citizens on how to minimize conflicts with bears”.

The seminar is free, and includes take-home information that attendees can share with others in the community, but a limited number of seats are available.  Pre-registration is required prior to June 15, and those who have not attended a Bear Awareness Seminar previously will be given preference.  Children who would like to participate must be at least 12 years of age.  Individuals wishing to pre-register should call 609-989-6559 or email jschmeltz@mercercounty.org.

More facts and information about “Bear Awareness” are also available online by visiting the Division’s web site at http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/bearinfo.htm