BLACK BEARS

The Catskill Mountains of New York support a growing population of American black bears (Ursus americanus) - but also a thriving tourism scene. Black bears can be a nuisance when living in close proximity to people by raiding trash bins and trespassing on properties. The resulting interactions with people can be dangerous, and can cause unwanted habituation to urban environments. While conservation organizations and government officials have worked extensively to educate residents on how to responsibly live around black bears, they have had less success with tourists. With the support of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, I am collaborating with biologists at the NY Department of Environmental Conservation to answer the question: how can we educate short-term visitors to the Catskills on how to appropriately stay in black bear country? Over the coming months, I'll be testing the efficacy of online and in-home educational material on summer AirBnB renters to determine the best methods for reaching these short-term visitors. 

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