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Venator Foundation Gift to Unity College Bear Study Produces Exceptional Results

The camera that captured this Maine black bear was at one of the Unity College prebait sites in Unity, Maine. Researchers are encouraging bears to frequent an area before attempting to trap them.
Unity College Bear Study
The camera that captured this Maine black bear was at one of the Unity College prebait sites in Unity, Maine. Researchers are encouraging bears to frequent an area before attempting to trap them.
Posted May 06, 2014, at 7:10 p.m.

Unity, Maine – A ground breaking Maine black bear study involving Unity College students continues to spark the imagination of the general public and garner support.

One year ago the comprehensive study, which directly involves undergraduates capturing and tagging bears, received support when a pilot donated his services to help track tagged bears. Funded primarily by the College, the College accepts donations to supplement that support. The study is now attracting foundation support.

During the spring 2014 semester, The Venator Foundation gifted the Unity College Bear Study with trail surveillance cameras and protective cases. Now, the cameras are producing outstanding shots of bears in the Unity, Maine area.

“The cameras and protective cases are ideal for bear surveillance,” noted Associate Professor George Matula, who is in charge of the study. “The cameras provide insight into bear behavior, and the cases protect against curious bears and human theft.”

The cameras are used to monitor pre-bait sites, hair snare sites, and trapping sites at locations in the study area near Unity College in Unity.

Since it began in 2013, the study has gathered valuable information about the Maine black bear population in central Maine. The recently released one-year study (http://www.unity.edu/student-spotlight/unity-college-bear-study-releases-one-year-report) offers a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of bears, and raised the important question as to why bears in central Maine appear to be growing at a faster rate than bears in other parts of Maine. The study is believed to be the only one of its kind in the United States led by undergraduate students who track, trap, and study bears.

The general public is encouraged to call any bear sightings in to the Unity study at (207) 509-7269, or e-mail jwhelan@unity.edu. “The information received will help us focus our research efforts,” said Matula.

In recent years Unity College has gained national attention for a variety of achievements including its focus on sustainability science, the leading-edge of 21st century ecological problem solving and the vanguard in the fight for the mitigation of global climate change; its ground-breaking green innovations such as the award-winning TerraHaus, the first student residence on a college or university campus built to the Passive House standard, the most energy efficient building standard in the world; and being the first college in the United States to divest from investments in fossil fuels, igniting a growing national movement in higher education.

Through the framework of sustainability science, Unity College provides a liberal arts education that emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Through experiential and collaborative learning, our graduates emerge as responsible citizens, environmental stewards, and visionary leaders.

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