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Take Down Birdfeeders to avoid contact with bears

CONCORD —  While it may look more like mid-January rather than late March across the New Hampshire landscape, don't be fooled. Spring is here. The late March sun is strong and snow will soon start to melt fast. As the days become warmer, bears will start to get active and it is time to put the birdfeeders away until late fall. Some homeowners have already reported seeing bears at birdfeeders in different areas across the state. To help prevent bear visits, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department recommends taking down birdfeeders from April 1 to December 1.

The Fish and Game Department urges the New Hampshire public to be proactive and take action now to prevent attracting a bear to their home. Do not wait for a bear to get the birdfeeder and then respond. Doing so encourages foraging behavior by bears near residences. A single food reward will cause the bear to return and continue to search the area for food.

While bear/human conflicts during 2013 (527 complaints) were below the long-term average (695 per year), 2012 was a challenging year resulting in a record total of over 1,100 statewide complaints, according to Fish and Game Bear Biologist Andrew Timmins. Nearly 10% of the bear complaints during 2012 involved bears at bird feeders. Additionally, another 40% of the complaints were the direct result of bears raiding unsecured garbage at homes and businesses. "These two common food attractants accounted for half of the total bear-human conflicts in that year and could have been easily avoided by removing or securing common food attractants around the yard," said Timmins.

"The rate of bear/human conflicts that will occur this spring and summer is unknown and difficult to predict. Bears went to den in good shape due to generally abundant foods (i.e., beechnuts, apples, mountain ash berries, and choke cherries) last fall. However, it has been a long denning season and bears have depleted considerable body fat," said Timmins. "When bears emerge, they will be hungry and food will be limited until spring green-up occurs. We are hoping homeowners will be vigilant and remove/secure attractants so as not to entice bears and create nuisance behavior."

Black oil sunflower seeds are simply too high a quality of food (high in fat and protein) for bears to ignore. Natural bear foods during spring and summer are generally high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fat. As a result, birdseed is high on the menu. If bears have previously acquired sunflower seeds at your home, they will be back looking for more. The best way to prevent attracting bears is to remove birdfeeders until December 1 and secure other household food attractants.

Homeowners should take action to reduce the chances of a bear visiting their home. Avoid encounters with bears by taking a few simple precautions:

* Stop all bird feeding by April 1.
* Clean up any spilled birdseed and dispose of it in the trash.
* Secure all garbage in airtight containers inside a garage or adequate storage area, and put garbage out on the morning of pickup, not the night before. If using a dumpster, inform your dumpster company that you need a dumpster with metal locking tops and doors that are inaccessible to bears and other wildlife.
* Avoid putting meat or other food scraps in your compost pile.
* Don't leave pet food dishes outside overnight.
* Clean and store outdoor grills after each use.
* Finally, never feed bears!

These steps will help to ensure that your backyard does not become attractive to bears and other wildlife, which is important because it prevents property damage by bears and because it keeps bears from becoming nuisance animals.

Last Updated on Monday, 31 March 2014 08:54

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Life in Review Workshop at Meredith Bay Colony Club

MEREDITH — On Thursday, April 10 at 3 p.m. The Reverend John Eaton will present a free hour-long workshop in the Bistro of Meredith Bay Colony Club that is ideal for those who are 60 plus – but is certainly appropriate for all adults.

Many people feel that their lives have been mundane, but after review they realize that they have been filled with interesting and exciting adventures. This workshop will help people to explore their lives and draw out those special times. Participants will be asked to share their thoughts and discoveries with the group and will be encouraged to share with their families as well. At the conclusion of the workshop participants will have a Life History Summary that can be a gift to family members for generations to come.

The Reverend John Eaton is a retired United Church of Christ Pastor and is also a Member of Meredith Bay Colony Club. The workshop is free and open to thepublic. Because seating is limited reservations are required and can be made by calling 279-1500.

Meredith Bay Colony Club is a not-for-profit retirement community located at 21 Upper Mile Point Drive -- just off the Meredith rotary.

Last Updated on Monday, 31 March 2014 08:48

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MVSB Donates $2500 to Inter-Lakes Elementary School's "Living Classroom" Greenhouse Project

MEREDITH — Meredith Village Savings Bank's (MVSB) recent donation of $2500 to Inter-Lakes Elementary School's (ILES) Living Classroom greenhouse project has put the school even closer to its fundraising goal of $65,000. With these funds, the school plans to build a 24'x 48' rigid-frame poly-carbonate greenhouse that will provide interactive and experiential learning opportunities to students of all grade levels.

"Today's generation is the first to grow up 'indoors' and 'plugged in' and we believe this Living Classroom is an important tool for reconnecting children with nature," said Dr. Steven Kelley, Inter-Lakes Elementary School Principal. "We are so appreciative of the support from Meredith Village Savings Bank and other community partners to help us bring new, engaging learning experiences to the Inter-Lakes Elementary School students."

The Living Classroom initiative is focused on constructing and supporting a state of the art greenhouse on the Inter-Lakes Elementary School grounds in Meredith. This new teaching environment will promote active learning for students and provide learning experiences in all academic areas. With a supplemental heating design utilizing subterranean heat and solar energy, the greenhouse will operate year round with a minimal amount of purchased electricity. The space will include creatively designed outdoor garden beds, a composting center and will be large enough to hold 20 students and their educator(s). For more information about the project or to make a donation, visit: https://sites.google.com/site/interlakesgreenhouse/

In partnership with its communities, Inter-Lakes School District aims to provide outstanding educational opportunities and resources to all students to achieve academic excellence in order to reach their highest potential and to succeed as responsible, contributing citizens in a global society. More information can be found at www.interlakes.org.

Last Updated on Monday, 31 March 2014 08:43

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Pleasant St. School is a recipient of CLiF Award

LACONIA — Pleasant St. Elementary School is a recipient of a Children's Literacy Foundation (CLiF)  2014-2015 Year of the Book sponsorships. It was one of eight schools in New Hampshire and Vermont which will receive free books and literacy programs valued at $25,000 over the course of a school year.

The CLiF Year of the Book sponsorship supplements literacy curricula at schools with high percentages of students scoring below state standards on reading and writing tests and high percentages of students who qualify for free or reduced lunch. Over the course of the year, students may select and keep new books of their own.

In addition to free books, a sponsorship brings in literacy professionals to inspire students. Programs may include author/illustrator visits, multi-day comics or poetry workshops, storytelling presentations and theater or video production.

CLiF is a non-profit organization founded in 1998. Its mission is to nurture a love of reading and writing among low-income, at-risk, and rural children in New Hampshire and Vermont. Over 16 years CLiF has supported and inspired 150,000 young readers and writers through six literacy program sponsorships and has given away more than $3 million in new, high-quality children's books.

CLiF does not receive any federal or state funds for its programs. It relies solely on the generosity of individuals, local companies, social organizations, and foundations.

Last Updated on Monday, 31 March 2014 08:34

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