Being bear aware

As a biologist and bear educator, Snoqualmie resident Julie Hopkins knows the reality of bears is different from the myth.

She shares her knowledge in a presentation, "Living with Bears," at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, in the meeting room of the new Snoqualmie Public library located on Snoqualmie Ridge.

As a biologist with the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project, Hopkins talks to groups, individuals and holds "kitchen meetings" to share information with a handful of people.

"We're basically doing as much as we can to get education out there, to help people understand bears better, how to be safe," she said.

The goal of the Grizzly Bear Outreach Project team is to provide an educational resource to the public about grizzly (or brown) bear recovery, bear behavior, safety and sanitation issues associated with living and recreating in the Cascade Mountains.

Food is usually the reason people encounter bears in their campgrounds or neighborhoods. But bears won't visit residential areas unless they can find food there. Much of the time, that's pretty easy, thanks to dog food dishes, bird feeders, dirty barbecues and easy-to-open garbage cans.

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