The first public event of the LIFE Bear-Smart Corridors was held for the community of Pettorano sul Gizio

July 8, 2023

A high participation of people characterized the first public event of the LIFE Bear-Smart Corridors in the Bear Smart Community Genzana, the first to be established in Italy 8 years ago.

What emotions do you feel when you think of living in a territory where bears are present?
Enrica Calò

On 29 June, the first public event of the European project LIFE Bear-Smart Corridors was held in Pettorano sul Gizio, dedicated to the Bear Smart Community Genzana. It seemed useful and necessary to start from here, because the collective commitment to coexist with the Marsican bear has been put into practice since 2015 with the pilot project that saw the establishment of the first Bear Smart Community in Italy.

The event took place in two parts, one of presentation and one of interaction with the public, all conducted by facilitators.
Enrica Calò

During the meeting, which was attended by over 70 people, the Director of the Monte Genzana Alto Gizio Nature Reserve Antonio Di Croce and the Rewilding Apennines Communications Manager Angela Tavone addressed numerous issues relating to the biology and ecology of the bear, also through an abridged version of the documentary “Terre dell’Orso”, co-produced by Treehouse Films and Salviamo l’Orso; the concept of a bear smart community and what collective actions and commitments are needed to become a community that coexists with bears; to the activities envisaged by the LIFE Bear-Smart Corridors project, also discussed together with Antonio Di Nunzio, Communications Officer of the Promotion Office of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park. It should be remembered that the objective of the project is to encourage the expansion of the Marsican bear in the Central Apennines – as well as the brown bear in northern Greece – by improving the habitat quality for the bears in the ecological corridors and, at the same time, working alongside local communities to grow the sense and culture of human-bear coexistence.

The event was well attended, with over 70 people.
Enrica Calò

The last part of the meeting, managed by the facilitators Anna Crimella, Flavio Lorenzoni and Maria Benciolini, was dedicated to raising questions from the public about the contents presented, but above all the emotions one feels sharing the territory with the Marsican bear, the challenges and how to face them, the hopes and ambitions on the theme of coexistence and the individual and collective commitment so that bears can have a future. To encourage this important exchange of ideas and opinions, Valerio Reale and Berenice Guinel of the Rewilding Apennines enterprise team offered a cheese tasting accompanied by local beers and cider. They were all high-quality products from the territories in which we are working for the creation of other Bear Smart Communities that are part of the Bear Fund’s network of entrepreneurs.

From what emerged in the interactive phase with the public, we have the awareness of how long the road towards human-bear coexistence is and that occasions like this are the basis of the desired cultural change, in small steps, with no one excluded. Thanks to all the participants of this first public event and to the LBSC project partners present: Municipality of Pettorano sul Gizio, Monte Genzana Alto Gizio Nature Reserve, Salviamo l’Orso, Rewilding Apennines, Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park and Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park.