With a heightened awareness of wildlife sightings and conflicts in the Cochrane area and the Eastern Slopes, the Cochrane Environmental Action Committee (CAEC) couldn't have picked a better topic to mark the return of their Living Sustainability Series.

The kickoff session "Coexisting with Wildlife" is being held at the Frank Wills Memorial Hall, 405-1 St. E. on Sunday, Nov. 19 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. This is a free event but advance registration is requested.

You can register here

Kennedy Halvorson, a conservation specialist from Alberta Wilderness Association will provide insight into our local biodiversity, including societal benefits, some common misconceptions, and how to be a good neighbour to local wildlife.

Representatives of the Cochrane Ecological Institute and Calgary Wildlife will also be available to answer questions.

CEAS president Tim Giese says it's a chance to understand what appears to be a growing number of bears, cougars, and other species making their way into our community. Ideas will be exchanged on how we can take measures to prevent situations like in Canmore, where wildlife confrontations have led to several prohibitions being implemented.

"If we could do minor things right now, then hopefully we won't get in a situation like Canmore, where people have been told they can't have fruit trees, and they have to be very careful with compost," he says. "They have all kinds of rules and regulations there because of all the wildlife issues they have. If we're not careful, you could see how Cochrane would have to take on some of those things."

"I'm hoping that between her presentation and some discussion that we have with the audience--I'm sure there are people in the audience that will have stories about their own interaction with wildlife on their properties--we could all learn something. We could all benefit from this."

Human-wildlife conflicts are far from new in the Cochrane area, and there have been numerous articles over the years on how to be prepared for a possible conflict.

READ: Avoiding Dangerous Human-Wildlife Encounters

READ: Cougars, Bears and Moose...Oh My!!

READ: Tips offered for Cochrane trail users amid cougar sightings

Still, there has been an alarming number of bear and cougar sightings this summer. Giese says there have also been reports of coyote packs howling at night and even our growing urban deer population could pose a problem should people be in the wrong place at the wrong time during the rutting season.

CAEC launched its Living Sustainability Series last year. This time around, the sessions will continue monthly until April, excluding December. Other topics will include zero waste/circular economy, home retrofits, invasive Species, and birding.

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