Community Papers

Nelson students get to the bear facts

Students from South Nelson Elementary have been learning about the Great Bear Rainforest. - web photo
Students from South Nelson Elementary have been learning about the Great Bear Rainforest.
— image credit: web photo

Students at South Nelson Elementary School have been reading the book The Salmon Bears: Giants of the Great Bear Rainforest, by Ian McAllistar and Nicholas Read.

The book was purchased partly through a BCTF and Nelson and District Teachers’ Association social justice grant.

The class set of 30 books, has been circulating Grade 5 to Grade 12 classrooms since last May.

The Great Bear Rainforest forms one of the last great wilderness areas on the coast of British Columbia and is home to grizzly, black and spirit bears. The Salmon Bears explores the delicate balance that exists between the bears and their natural environment.

When applying for the social justice grant, teacher Shannon Lanaway identified the positive impact that takes place when students learn about the rich diversity of the ecosystems existing in BC.

Through such education, students are able to make personal connections to their own local environments; feel an ownership to the life that exists in this part of the world; increase their understanding of its value and empowerment through conservation.

Doug Vansickles Grade 4/5 students were given the opportunity during a social studies class to peruse the book.

Students described photographs that had the greatest emotional  impact on them and why?

They also read, selected and wrote  about what they felt most important to share with their community through their submissions to the Nelson Star.

The following are some of these facts.

 

When bears go to sleep in the winter they still need to eat. They do this by processing the reserves of fat they build up during the months prior to hibernation. – Ashlynn

 

Bears can run about as fast as 50 km/h. – Alex

 

There probably isn’t a place on earth that hasn’t been disturbed in some way by humans. – Evan

 

The spirit bear isn’t related to the polar bear. Even though they’re both white, spirit bears are black bears in every way except colour. – Liam

 

Logging our forests can allow roads to be built and those roads are used by poachers and hunters who seek bear for dinner. –Sophie

 

It is illegal to hunt a spirit bear, but is not illegal to hunt a black bear. Most black bears carry the same recessive gene that turns a black bear white. A hunter can kill a spirit bear’s parent.  – Ravi

 

Grizzly bears needn’t  think twice before swimming across a river or inlet. They are superb swimmers and can swim many kilometers of open ocean if necessary.  – Faith

 

Sport hunters kill grizzly bears legally and poachers kill them illegally, often for their organs which are used in traditional Asian medicine. – Cole

 

The sounds bears make depend on their moods. When a cub is nursing they produce a continuous motor-like purr almost like a cat. Mother bears often, “speak” to their cubs in a series of grunts, though what each of these grunts means is a secret kept by bears. Bears also blow air and clack their teeth when they are afraid. Bear cubs will scream almost like a human when they’re in distress.  – Tiger

 

Spirit bears come from black bear parents.  – Jane

 

As well as bears, the Great Bear Rainforest is home to 230 species of birds and 68 mammals, not to mention dozens of reptiles and amphibians and hundreds of insects. Some of the best known and most recognizable animals such as the cougar, grey wolf and many different types of deer are also there.  – Zac

 

Even though three-quarters of all British Columbians are against sport hunting, the government refuses to end it.  – Ms. Lanaway

 

The bears of the Great Bear Rainforest are reportedly in danger. Trophy hunting, diminishing salmon stocks, habitat loss and oil spills threaten these animals. For more information about the conservation taking place in the Great Bear Rainforest visit pacificwild.org.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.