Founded in 1969 by the B.C. Wildlife Federation, the British Columbia Conservation Foundation (BCCF) is now a registered society and charity.
Established to achieve ‘on-the-ground’ conservation success, BCCF has been involved in over 5000 research, restoration, mapping and education projects since 1986. In 1998 BCCF was approached by members of the Revelstoke Bear Committee and the Provincial Wildlife Conflict Committee to adopt a leadership role in expanding Bear Aware programs to other regions of the province. Since that time BCCF has helped to deliver programs in more than thirty BC communities.
In 2002, the Ministry of Environment began the Bear Smart Community Program which helps detail the steps and procedures by which communities can reduce the frequency and intensity of human-bear conflicts. The process involves a shift from the reactive management of “problem” bears to the proactive management of the attractants that draw bears into the communities. This management plan includes components on monitoringhuman-bear conflicts, education, managing waste, implementing and enforcing bylaws, managing green space, and community planning.
Bear Aware is the approved educational component of Bear Smart and works in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment’s Bear Smart Program. By 2010, the communities of Kamloops and Squamish, both of which have long standing Bear Aware Programs, have achieved Bear Smart status.