Communication actions

Angela Tavone

Communication actions

Effective communication is essential when it comes to building public support and engaging with stakeholders. Building knowledge, through education and awareness – both on the ground and in our online communications – is  therefore a vital part to reach the full potential of Bear-Smart Communities.

E1. Raising awareness about bear conservation challenge amongst the most relevant stakeholders

To increase support for long-term bear conservation and improve coexistence with bears, informative workshops to involve the local communities living in the corridors will be organised. The workshops will address topics like the biology of the (Marsican) brown bear, threats that affect the Marsican bear population in Central Apennines. how to behave if a person meets a bear by chance and what measures can be taken to mitigate human-bear conflicts.

In Greece, four similar public events will be organised – two for each Greek Bear Smart Community, in Amyntaio and Trikala-Meteora.


E2. Create a strong visual identity for LIFE Bear-Smart Corridors

To capture the hearts and minds of people and generate positive attitudes among stakeholders, communities and the wider public, we will work on both informative and inspirational ways of communication, including the development of a range of materials showcasing our efforts. Creating a strong visual identity through materials like brochures, posters, impactful images and a documentary will help to increase outreach, raise awareness and in turn generate the support needed for our actions to have real impact.


E3. Local, regional and national media activities

To keep local inhabitants as well as the wider public informed and build understanding about bears and human-bear coexistence measures, communications are foreseen through this website, social media and through local, regional and national media coverage. In addition, a podcast will be produced about the coexistence efforts in the Central Apennines.

E4. Edutainment: promote coexistence through educational activities

Bear Smart Communities rely all on having an understanding and even certain kind of affection for bears. Direct involvement by stakeholders is a powerful mechanism for this but can be difficult to achieve. Providing education through mechanisms that are fun – “edutainment” allows the concept to be broadcast to as wide an audience as possible within each community. This action, whilst focussed on a youth and student audience, can draw in the wider general public. It will include activities like a theatre play performance, outdoor education initiatives, social games, a school contest about the best Bear Smart Community idea and in Greece specifically a new ‘bear-trail’ will be developed and workshops for students about human-bear coexistence will be carried out.

E5. Capacity enhancement workshops for nature-based entrepreneurs

This action foresees the training of at least two entrepreneurs from each Bear-Smart Community in Italy in order to establish the Bear Fund Network: the first platform of nature-based businesses linked to conservation actions across ecological corridors.

The capacity enhancement programme will focus on six main topics: rewilding & bear biology, sustainable economic models & the Bear Conservation Fund, responsible communication, nature & tourism destination management, team building and business & agricultural development.

E6. Development of wildlife viewing facilities

This action will create 15 wildlife watching facilities to channel the interest in watching and photographing bears into a responsible form of tourism. It will reduce impact from bear “photo-hunters” and tourists, who in this case will be accompanied only by nature guides, educating them by conveying wildlife-friendly behaviour on the ground. These facilities will preferably be located in medieval old towns, intercepting tourists and local people. The scenic uphill locations of most of the bear-smart communities guarantee observations of wildlife surrounded by beautiful historic buildings.

E7. Networking, final conference and actions to guarantee replicability and sustainability of our actions

It is our aim that best practices developed through our actions, lessons learned and the ‘Bear-Smart Community’ concept as a whole will be maintained and applied on a increasing scale in the long run. Specific international seminars/webinars will be held with those organisations that demonstrate a specific interest in the developed best practices. A few specific cases where the concept might be replicated, involving bears or other wildlife, have already been identified.