UNITY — Information related to a multi-year Maine black bear study is sought from central Maine residents, according to a press release.

Researchers from Unity College and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife seek information from residents of Dixmont, Troy, Benton, Thorndike, Unity and adjoining areas who spot bears. Residents can report their sightings by contacting Jennifer Whelan, administrative assistant to instruction and advising services at Unity College, by calling 948-9269, or email [email protected]

Specific information sought includes the location of the bear, date and time of observation, and contact information of the person who spotted the bear for follow-up questions.

The multi-year study involves Unity College faculty and students and includes the trapping, tracking and in at least one case, attachment of a video camera to a Maine black bear.

In service to Unity’s transdisciplinary approach to ecological problem solving, some students participating in the study will also apply their work on the study to other college classes. For instance, some students will incorporate their GIS analysis into an applied GIS course with instructor Kathleen Dunckel, and Assistant Professor Cheryl Frederick will guide students through analyses of the video footage and scats. Assistant Professor Brent Bibles will be designing the hair snare protocols and setting them out, and helping to collect data for another course. Associate Professor Tom Mullin will incorporate some of the bear study analysis into developing a website and outreach materials to the general public in the area advising on co-existence with bears. The study is under the direction of Associate Professor George Matula and involves over 60 students.

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