re-post: The Impact of Social Media


Brian Beckner Native Bird Boxes

(Quickly, before you read, some of the functions work better on our website here:

You all have taken some incredible photos over the past year. When you share your personal moments on the trail, a larger audience of folks get a view of the watershed, wildlife, and recreational opportunities throughout the CREW project. Thank you for sharing your experiences with all of us!

We hope these magnificent moments caught on camera inspire folks to support, visit, and explore the CREW trails, like the photographers before them!

Number 5

1,043 People Reached

Andrew West, multimedia journalist at The News-Press (Fort Myers and Cape Coral), captures incredible wildlife photos through his tireless efforts in the field.

Number 4

1,801 People Reached

A look at the iconic Swallow-tailed Kite by Anne Reed.

Number 3

2,772 People Reached

A Black bear at Bird Rookery Swamp interrupts a workout for some high-school cross country runners. The encounter is a great example of what to do when you see a bear on the trail.” Your Guide to the Florida Black Bear

Number 2

2,896 People Reached

Reporting live from the CREW turkey mixer.

Number 1

4,541 People Reached

Thank you to Dick Brewer for this incredible photo capture. And, thank you to our Facebook Friends Conservation Collier, Collier County Parks & Recreation and Jenny’s Eco Everglades Wilderness Tours for helping us reach a larger audience.

Thanks for sharing

The photos you share tell a rich story, communicating the kind of impact we can all play in wildlife conservation. With a camera, visitors can safely view wildlife behavior in their natural habitats and learn to appreciate their existence. When wildlife is given the space needed to live out their natural lives, we all benefit.

These days social media plays a large role in the effort to help conserving wildlife. Reaching a large audience creates a link between the individuals that frequent the trails with those that view it from a distance. The bridge that is crossed has a lasting impact, providing us a sense of place in nature.

Bears don’t wear tiny red sweaters…and other myths

Summer brings more rain to our trail systems and also more bear sightings, both on our game cameras and by hikers and visitors. It’s also the time of year that communities around the CREW Project border have more bear visitors.

With all of the summer bear activity, it’s a good time to debunk some common bear myths. We’re sharing a few from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and you can check out their full list by clicking the link at the bottom.

text source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 

Myth: Black bears are strict carnivores.

While the bear Family, Ursidae, is part of the Order Carnivora (Carnivores), the Florida black bear is more appropriately described as an omnivore, eating a diet composed of 80% vegetation (e.g., leaves, grasses, nuts, berries), 16% insects (e.g., bees, wasps, termites, ants), and 4% meat (e.g., carrion, opossum, armadillo). Bears will rarely try to chase down a large animal, such as an adult deer, for a meal, because it will result in a net loss of energy – a lot of energy used trying to catch the animal with very little chance of a successful catch, thus no energy gained.

Myth: It’s best to run away or climb a tree to escape a black bear.

Black bears have curved toe nails, naturally making them great climbers. They will commonly climb trees or send their cubs up a tree to escape a perceived danger. Nut bearing tree canopies, like oaks, are common places to find black bears feeding in the fall.
Black bears can run up to 30 mph. Running from any wild animal can also trigger a chase instinct, so it is best to back away slowly and find a secure location, like a vehicle or building.

Myth: Bears have terrible eyesight.

A bear’s eyesight is very similar to that of a human. They will stand up on their hind legs to get a better view of their surroundings. However, they rely heavily on their sense of smell. A bear’s sense of smell is considered the best of any land mammal, it is seven times better than that of a bloodhound and the part of their brain involved in smell is 6 times larger than the same part of a human’s brain. Smell is how a bear “sees” the world. Current research indicates black bears can pick up a scent over a mile away.

Myth: Bears can’t run downhill.

Black bears are quite capable of running downhill — fast. Black bears can run up to 30 mph over short distances. That’s faster than the fastest human – Usain Bolt, who can run up to 27 mph.

Myth: When a black bear stands on its hind legs, it is a sign of aggression.

When a black bear stands on its hind legs, it is trying to get a better view and/or smell of its surroundings. This stance is not aggressive in nature, nor is it an effective running gait. Bears that are challenging one another for dominance may sometimes stand on their hind legs to grab the other bear’s shoulders as part of the challenge process.

Myth: All black bears have only black fur and are huge.

Female Florida black bears are usually less than 200 pounds and males average about 350 pounds. Additionally, most black bears are black (like the name implies) but in some areas of Florida they can appear to be tan or brown in color due to the absence of their outer, black guard hairs. In other areas of North America, such as British Columbia, they can even be white. The Southeastern United States only has the species Ursus americanus (black bear), there are no Ursus arctos (brown bears), so if a bear appears brown in color it is still a black bear.

Myth: Relocating black bears is the best and easiest way to deal with a conflict bear.

FWC has found that relocating bears is not an effective strategy to reduce human-bear conflicts. In a recent study, almost 70% of relocated bears left the area where they were moved. Bears often leave the new areas because most places where bears can be moved already have resident bear populations, which can make it difficult for the relocated bear to remain. In addition, relocated bears often try to return to their original location. Those bears wander through unfamiliar areas and cross busy roads, creating a danger to the bear and to motorists.

Relocating bears also does not always stop their conflict behavior. FWC found that at least 50% of relocated bears exhibit conflict behavior again. In those cases, even if the bear stays where it was moved, all that has been done is a shift of the conflict issue to a new neighborhood. Most locations in Florida that experience bear conflicts are in bear range, and so even if FWC removed a bear that is visiting your neighborhood, the chance of another bear finding that same food source is very high.

Bears and other wildlife that linger in neighborhoods are a symptom of the problem of wildlife having easy access to human-provided foods. If the unsecured food source–garbage, compost piles, livestock, and pet/livestock/bird foods—are eliminated, the problem is eliminated. Bears will move out of the neighborhood to search out another food source.

For more information about FWC’s Bear Myths, visit


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