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Dealing with unbearable backyard guests

Whether they're looking to heist your honey or make a buffet out of your birdseed, more and more bears seem to be making their way into our backyards lately.

Across parts of our area lately, some not so cuddly creatures are moseying into our backyards and destroying plenty of stuff along the way. 

So how can you handle those unbearable backyard guests?

Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey turned to pros at Lackawanna College Environmental Education Center near Daleville on Wednesday. 

Charlene Wildes teaches wildlife management at the environmental education center in Covington Township. 

Charlene says there are two reasons why you might be seeing more bears popping up on people's social media feeds lately and visiting local backyards: One, people have more time to capture the mammals since folks are home a lot more due to COVID-19.  And two, right now, bears also are also trying to double their body weight as they prepare for "denning," AKA spending four months without food.

Here are some other tips to keep the bears at bay:  

  1. Never feed or approach bears
  2. Secure garbage, recycling and compost
  3. Remove bird feeders when bears are active (consider bringing them in at night)
  4. Never leave pet food outdoors
  5. Clean and store grills (bears love grease)
  6. Remove fallen fruit from fruit trees
  7. Alert neighbors to bear activity

Speaking of Lackawanna College Environmental Educational Center, the nonprofit near Daleville is also seeing a growing interest in people looking to explore careers in the great outdoors.

The school's "Conservation and Natural Resource Certificate Program," AKA "Park Ranger Program," has grown over the last four years.

Sharon Yanik-Craig is the program's director. She says a lot more people are showing interest in the program and reevaluating their career goals in the midst of the pandemic.  Students range from right out of high school to those in their fifties looking for a career change. 

This type of program can prepare people for entry-level positions in state, county, and municipal park systems.

The next "Park Ranger Program" begins August 31, 2020, and ends December 11, 2020. The 15-week program still has open spots.

Learn more about the course and how to sign up at this link.