When it comes to publicity, Town Wildlife Specialist Steve Searles knows that bigger is better.
With five words, Mammoth Wildlife Specialist Steve Searles has managed to create one of the most effective educational tools around. Stickers, touting the phrase, “Mammoth, Don’t Feed Our Bears” get the message across about local wildlife with more power and punch than a long-winded newsletter.
Not only is the message clear and to the point, it’s personal. Don’t feed OUR bears puts the onus on the community, which is always happy to step up to the plate and do what needs to be done to co-exist with bears. It makes people responsible for being part of the solution.
With the bears already out and about this year, Searles is issuing a new challenge to his community. “Let’s stick as many stickers on local vehicles as possible,” Searles said.
To help in that effort we’ve enclosed a “Mammoth Don’t Feed Our Bears” sticker in this week’s print issue of The Sheet. If you pick up a copy that doesn’t have a sticker, and you want to participate in the challenge, simply send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Steve at PO Box 8619, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546.
By sticking the stickers, you can play a role in raising awareness about the local bear population in Mammoth Lakes.
“Our position on bears is the one thing that unifies our town when we are divided on so many other things,” Searles said.
This year, there will be less people available to respond to bear calls with the Mammoth Lakes Police Department having been cut way back in the past six months, but Searles isn’t worried.
“There’s going to be less people, the same bears and the same amount of work to do, but we’ve always been a community-based program,” he said.
According to Searles, Mammoth set a new standard last year. Even with very limited natural food sources for bears available, Mammoth avoided having to shoot any bears.
“Let’s do it again this year,” Searles enthused. “And let’s start off by sticking a sticker. They are the best marketing possible. It’s education we can do now.”
In case you haven’t seen one, the stickers are high quality vinyl and will peel off of windows and chrome bumpers even after being stuck, according to Searles.
“So if you want to take the sticker off next winter, you can,” he said.
Not only do the stickers serve as educational pieces, but they also serve as calling cards that help Searles break the ice when approaching people to talk to them about bears.
“I given out 68,000 stickers over time, one by one,” Searles said. “So this year, let’s double or triple the amount of stickers out there. That’s what I need from the community.”
Also in the works, large, reflective signs that repeat the same message as the stickers. Look for the signs, pictured on the front page, in areas such as the Lakes Basin hopefully in the near future.
If you’d like to donate money to help Searles print even more stickers as businesses such as ReMax and Mammoth Disposal have already done, simply give Steve a call at 937.BEAR.
And as always, now that the bears are cruising the streets of Mammoth once again, lock your dumpsters and don’t leave food in your cars.