Learn about living with bears; creating bear smart communities; recreating in bear country; bear safety at work; and managing bears (for wildlife officials).

Educational Materials, Tools & Strategies

Get Bear Smart has utilized a variety of strategies to good effect in Whistler, B.C. You may want to incorporate some of these ideas into your own educational program. We are pleased to be able to share them with you. Some are free downloads and other materials are available at wholesale costs.

Get Bear Smart is keen to help you get started. Here’s how we can help:

Provide educational materials


Informational booklets, pamphlets, and single sheet flyers are an excellent way to distribute information to the general public. Here are some samples of educational materials that can be adapted to suit your community.

The brochures below can be downloaded, edited and distributed – all yours for free. We produce Get Bear Smart guides for residents or visitors (if you live in a resort community). You can download the generic version and revise it to include local contact information and your own logo. Please review the text carefully and make the appropriate changes. These guides can be printed front and back on regular letter size paper, folded twice and voila: you have a brochure. There are also a number of other guides/checklists you can download. Check ’em out…..

Download ’em now:

Bear Smart Resident’s Guide (Black Bears)

Bear Smart Visitor’s Guide (Black Bears)

Bear Smart Resident’s Checklist

Bear Smart Business Checklist

Bear Smart Best Practices Guide for Businesses

Quick Facts: Bears in your Backyard

Quick Facts: Bears in the Backcountry

Bear Smart brochures: Living in, Playing in or Visiting Bear Country

Bear Smart Pocket Guides

These Guides offer lots of tips and handy facts in a convenient tri-fold format so they’re easy to post on your frig or take with you anywhere. Bulk orders can be personalized with a logo and contact information.

Companion to the best-selling book: Living With Bears Handbook by Linda Masterson

Guide #1: Living in Bear Country

Beary Smart Solutions to help keep bears wild and away from your home and stuff.

Guide #2: Playing in Bear Country

Bear smart tips for hikers and campers, and tells you what to do if you encounter a black bear.

Guide #3: Visiting Bear Country

Get the bear facts and be bear prepared when vacationing where bears roam.

Each 4×9 tri-fold is printed on heavy-duty paper, for long-lasting use. $2.95 US each or $7.95 US for the set; free shipping within the US.

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Bear Smart Kids Booklet – Are you smarter than the average bear?

Written and illustrated by Evelyn Kirkaldy

Bear Smart Kids: A book to make you smarter than the average bear

8.5″ x 11″, 18 pages

soft colour over, b & w inside

by Get Bear Smart Society

This book will make you smarter than the average bear! This is a wonderfully illustrated colouring and activity book about bears around the world, bear necessities, the life of a bear, crosswords and much more. A fantastic book for teachers, originally produced by the Get Bear Smart Society. Since the booklet is out of print, we can only provide teachers with .pdf’s of the pages to print for their students.

Living with Bears Handbook

by Linda Masterson

Living With Bears Handbook

ISBN 978-1936555611

6 x 9″, 288 pages, paperback

over 180 photos

by PixyJack Press

Living with Bears is urgently recommended by the thousands of ‘problem’ (victimized) bears that needlessly die each year in North America. This insightful, well researched and witty book will guide and inspire humans to live in greater harmony with bears. – Steve Herrero, author of Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance

With over 900,000 black bears roaming North America today, people from Florida to British Columbia are encountering bears more often, and as a result, human-bear conflicts are on the rise. Colorado author Linda Masterson dispels myths, replaces fear with respect, and lays the foundation for improving human-black bear relations with an inside look at the fascinating world of these highly intelligent, adaptable and resourceful animals. View contents here.

Wholesale cost is $12-$14.40 US (depending on quantity). Shipping costs are extra. Suggested retail is $24 US.

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Bookmarks and Fridge Magnets

Get Bear Smart reminder/prompt magnetMagnets, bookmarks and stickers (see examples below) can distributed through centrally located outlets that residents frequent regularly, like the post office, grocery store, or library. Ask your municipal government office to help you distribute educational materials through their regular mail outs to residents, e.g. annual taxation notice.

Magnets are a great way to advertise information that needs to be readily accessible, like a phone number to call for help, or a website address to obtain more information. You can also use magnets to advertise your key messages or reminder lists e.g. a list of attractants that might lure hungry bears into your backyard.

Bookmarks are another great way to advertise your message – and they’re useful too! They provide a larger format to deliver information. You can include fun facts about bears, ways to get bear smart around your house, or tips for hiking in bear country. The list is limited only by your imagination. In one example below, each tip is pre-fixed with a letter, spelling out SMART down the left side.

Get Bear Smart Bookmarks for home, in the woods and kids


Stickers can be used to identify bear aware/smart households and businesses and reward them for doing the right thing. To earn a sticker, the household/business must complete a checklist of bear smart measures. See samples of the checklist and letter: We are a Bear Aware Residence, We are a Bear Smart Business. Download the Best Practices Guide for Businesses and send it along with the sticker.

Other Stickers can be used to promote the program or as a reminder of a specific program message. Display locations include store windows, car bumpers, garbage cans, and dumpsters.

Click on the image below to download the artwork for your printer.

We are Bear Aware Household sticker
Bear Smart Business sticker
Bear Smart waste bin sticker - No Food Waste
Bear Smart Waste Container Sticker: Close Door

Bumper stickers. They are approximately 9″ x 3.75″. Download the artwork (by clicking on the sticker below) and get them printed locally – either on weather-resistant vinyl or magnetic material.

Bumper Sticker: Keep Bears Wild (garbage)
Bumper Sticker - Conservation though Coexistence - Get Bear Smart
Bumper Sticker: Keep Bears Wild (birdfeeder)
Bumper Sticker - Bears Deserve Respect Not Garbage - Bear Smart

Kid's placemats (restaurants)

Partner with local eateries and restaurants to provide bear smart placemats for kids to colour and complete the activities. Get the restaurant to donate funds to cover printing costs in exchange for placemats featuring their logo. You can download our designs and get them printed yourselves. Click on the design below and start downloading. NOTE: The files are large and will take some time to download.

Beasr Smart placemat for kids
Bear Smart placemat for kids

Other Tools:

Ad Campaign

Public Service Announcements (PSA’s) are a great way to get the message out to a large audience. Non-profit groups are usually eligible to run them at no cost or at a substantial discount. Talk to your local paper, radio station and community cable TV programming and ask them to support your educational efforts. You can also contribute articles to a regular newspaper column, e.g. The Bear Facts. Contact us for some generic articles that will provide you with a great start on writing your own.

Newspaper ads

We can provide artwork, graphics and photos as well as sample ads to get you started. All you need to do is get your local newspaper to support your cause.

sample bear smart newspaper ads

TV ads

Download two free PSA’s for use in your community. Get your local community cable channel and theatres to play the commercials with their regular programming. You can even ask them to add a customized screen at the end with your own local contact information.

If you need a higher resolution version, just email us and we’ll send it to you on CD.

Radio Ads – listen to our audio PSA’s. Spring. Summer. Fall.


Presentations to the public or special interest groups are the best way to communicate your message. There’s nothing more effective than a ‘face-to-face’ conversation. It gives you the opportunity to engage the audience and allows them to actively participate by asking questions. It also allows you to share and convey your commitment and passion, motivating participants to take action.

Presentations should be as entertaining as possible. You can use slide shows, video or PowerPoint, allowing you to depict bears and their behaviour both visually and with audio. Invite guest speakers to present special topics of interest. Presentations should be held somewhere that’s easily accessible by most residents, like your community centre or school. Generate interest in presentations by putting up posters in locations commonly frequented by residents, or use free PSA’s to advertise the event. Contact local community groups to see if they’re interested in hosting a presentation, or offer them to local businesses that are having specific problems.

Display Booths, Festivals and Special Events

Bear Smart educational tools - how do you measure up bannerSet up an informational display booth at local events, whenever the opportunity arises. Participate in parades, farmer’s markets, Earth Day or any special event that’s already organized.

Make your displays fun and interactive. You can have contests and draws. Here are some sample contests you can download: Adult Quiz, Kid’s Colouring Contest Sheet1, Sheet2, Kids: What’s wrong with this picture? (Answers). Get local businesses to donate prizes.

Hang up our bear size chart (pictured right) so that participants can see how they measure up against grizzlies and black bears of different ages. Just click on the image to download the artwork and print your own life-size banner.

Have a volunteer dress up in a bear costume to attract interest or for photos with the kids.

Establish a bear awareness week every year, preferably in the spring. Use this opportunity to set up displays, advertise and go door-to-door educating the public.

Door to Door campaign

While you’ll need to organize your own volunteers to help, we can provide you with a guide to help volunteers answer difficult questions. Download “Common Questions & Answers for Bear Smart Educators“.

Order these door hangers to leave over the door knob when residents are not home.

Trash Can Tagging Program

sample bear smart warning tags for garbage/trash cans Tagging resident’s garbage cans can be an effective method of creating awareness and changing people’s behaviour, in terms of storing and disposing of garbage in a bear-safe manner. In many areas that have curbside pick-up, it is more desirable for residents NOT to place their garbage/trash curbside until the morning of pick-up, or better yet, an hour or so before the truck is scheduled to pick it up.

Create tags that can be attached to trash can handles with a zip-tie. Yellow, orange or red are good colours to use as they signify a warning message. The tag should state the reason that the trash can has been tagged i.e. “Trash can left out in a manner that allows for the feeding of bears”. This is also a good opportunity to provide a few bear smart tips, such as:

  • Trash containers should be placed out the morning of pick-up only (just before the truck is scheduled to arrive).
  • Safely and securely store trash in a garage, shed, or bear-proof enclosure or trash container during the remainder of the week.
  • Occasionally clean your trash container with bleach.

Include your organization’s contact information on the tag, as well as a website for getting more information – feel free to use www.bearsmart.com. [Click on the tags top right for a larger image]

If garbage/trash day is Tuesday in a particular neighbourhood, then tag any cans that are set out early on Monday evening and then again any cans that have been accessed by bears early on Tuesday morning. Use your city trash schedule as a guide for areas in which to tag.

Tagging events are also a great opportunity to talk to any residents you meet about storing and disposing of garbage in a bear-safe manner. It’s important to relay the goal of the program, explaining that it’s not just about saving bear’s lives, but about minimizing property damage in their neighbourhood and creating a safe environment for all residents.

Don’t be discouraged if you receive complaints, it’s almost a certainty that you will, just do your best to calmly explain why it’s important to comply. You may also notice the same cans are being tagged over and over again – in this case, use any local bylaws or ordinances to force compliance.

This program is a great example of using social norms to encourage community responsible behaviour. [Get more information on Creating Sustainable Behaviour]

Keep a record of addresses that have been tagged. Once the resident has become ‘bear smart’, reward them by placing a green Bear Smart Champion tag on their trash container that thanks them for being part of the solution. These tags can also include additional information on other bear smart practices.

This program is being used effectively by Bear Smart Durango.


A variety of permanent signs can be developed to provide general, community-specific, residential, and tourist information and to identify seasonally high use areas. Temporary signs can also be used to identify hot spots for bear activity. Signs can be posted at rest stops, parks, pathways/hiking trails, bus stops, and tourist information booths. See examples below (to review text – click on description).

We would be happy to supply the text and artwork we used for our signs including graphics and photos. Modify as necessary, produce and install – it’s as easy as that!

sample bear in area sign

Temporary sandwich-board sign for residential area

sample bear smart decal for windows (bus shelter)

Small poster-style sign on window of bus shelter – Sample Residential Area, Tourist Zone

sample bear smart community sign

Community Sign

sample bear smart sign for parking area

Parking Lot Sign – Sample A, Sample B

(Whistler, BC)

sample sign: Bear In Area

Bear in Area sign

sample beasr smart sign along roadway: Speeding Kills Bears

Sandwich Board Sign (temp)

(Yosemite, CA)

sample bear crossing sign

Bear Crossing Sign

(Lake Tahoe, CA)

sample bear smart billboard

Billboard (NY)

sample bear smart highway sign: Do Not Feed Bears

Highway Sign

Do not feed bears

(Port McNeil, BC)

sample sign: Bear Break-in-o-meter

Break-in Bear-ometer (NY)

sample bear smart community sign

Sign – Community

(Ucluelet, BC)

sample bear smart lawn sign

Lawn Sign (NY)

sample bear-ometer sign: Neighbourhood Bear Watch Program

Bear Smart Bear-ometer (NY)

sample bear sightings sign

Sightings Sign (NY)

sample bear smart sign on bench

Sign – Bench (Trail, BC)

sample bear smart sign in recreational area

Sign – Recreational Area

(Whistler, BC)

NOTE: For additional information on educational program development, design and delivery, please refer to the Bear Smart Background Report (Section 8).


Graphics for educational materials:
Click here to view an inventory of cartoons available.
Click here to view black & white illustrations available.
Please contact Evelyn Kirkaldy for permission to use.