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If a Bear Falls in a Forest

And no one is around to hear him, does the bear make a sound?

Even though most of us don’t hear them, the bears are there, my friends. As I type there are thousands foraging for food, preparing to hibernate. They make all kinds of sounds – clacks as they chew, rustle of leaves as they climb trees, clunks while overturning rocks – hundreds of sounds as we go about our daily lives.

In Shenandoah National Park you might be lucky to witness such bears, who are threatened by disappearing habitat as we continue to populate a land that is not getting any bigger.

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Wonder what this bear is chewing on? Getting ready to hibernate in Shenandoah National Park.
Andres treading through the protected forest of Shenandoah National Park.
Andres treading through the protected forest of Shenandoah National Park.

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Bear in Matthews Arm Campground where we camped for a week.
Bear in Matthews Arm Campground where we camped for a week.
Each morning the very shy “Willie” wandered by (that’s what we named him or her). 
Sometimes pausing to look at us (we were in the car).
Sometimes pausing to look at us with curiosity.
This youngster was near our campground. One day we stopped along the road and just observed for a long, long time as he / she foraged.
A youngster near our campground. One day we stopped along the road and observed for a long, long time as he / she foraged.

Why we need bears

Bears are incredibly vital to our ecosystems, to us. The Wilderness Society came out with a great article a few years ago, Why Should we Protect Bears?

This super short film sums it up perfectly:

whybears.org

Better yet, the film offers a way for you to help. It’s not about money, it’s about joining the story. They’re asking you to go on your own journey of discovery and find out more about bears. Then, read this list of 5 amazing things you can do. If you have kids, why not make this an engaging and fun learning project?

We love taking photos of these vibrant creatures, yet we are unaware of how much help they need help.

Let’s take a moment to listen to bears. We can’t let bears fall in the forest, they can’t fail. If we allow it by causing their fall, then as the film points out, we’ll fall too.

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And of course, bears aren’t the only ones who call Shenandoah home. In memory of our time in this beautiful park, we illustrated a classic forest scene. The bear is hiding up in the tree.

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