Section 508 Website Accessibility

Skip to site navigation Skip to main content
Skip to main content
Wings of Hope

Wings of Hope

Bear Brigade

Bear Logo

The Bear Brigade!

The Wings of Hope Program is proud to announce the creation of our Bear Brigade Environmental Education Program! Like the Panther Posse Program, the Bear Brigade was created, and is directed, by Ricky Pires. This program will target fourth grades in Orlando and will connect with the Panther Posse students here in Collier and Lee County.  The Bear Brigade will begin in the fall of 2015, four target schools will be used to launch this program and the focus will be on the Florida Black Bear. Orlando, especially the Wekiwa Springs area, is undergoing controversial bear population issues. As the human population has been increasing, the bear population has as well. When bears travel back to certain wooded, or used to be wooded, areas seasonally to harvest food, they quickly realize that what used to be a plentiful supply of beauty berry is now a community with countless trash cans, bird feeders and dirty grills.

Bear and human interactions since 2013 have reported to be in the thousands. Many humans in these areas are uneducated as how to live with these bears. The FWC team has been suffering and pressured as to what decision to make for the bears and the humans. The Wings of Hope Program sees this as an essential time to educate folks in these areas on how to better live with these animals. By teaching the local elementary students, our hope is that they share this information with their parents and neighbors, and these bears will learn to leave these communities. Wings of Hope will be partnering with FWC, Wekiwa Springs State Park and the University of Central Florida. The biologist on board is Dan Smith of UCF, he will be supplying us with the latest bear research!

Heathrow Elementary & Dan Smith      

Heathrow Elementary & Dan Smith

Wekiwa Elementary School Teachers & Dan Smith 

Wekiwa Elementary School Teachers & Dan Smith

Be Bear Wise!

Bear Caught on Camera

Co-existing with Florida black bears

¨    Secure household trash cans in a shed, gar- age or wildlife-resistant container.

¨    Place household trash cans out the morning of pick up day, rather than the night before.

¨    Clean grills and store them in a locked, se- cure place.

¨    Remove wildlife feeders or make them bear-resistant.

¨    Pick up fruit from trees—bears love fruit!

¨    Don’t leave your dog chained up outside, bears could attack them.

¨    Keep dogs on a leash and cats inside.

¨    If you see or suspect that someone is feed- ing or attracting bears, go to

¨    Report any illegal Saw Palmetto berry pick- ing at the FWC Alert Hotline (888) 404-3922


What to do if you encounter a black bear

¨    Close range: remain standing upright, back up slowly, speak to the bear in a calm, as- sertive voice.

¨    Be sure the bear has an obvious escape route.

¨    Don’t run or climb a tree.

¨    Never approach or surprise a bear.

¨    If you see a bear from a distance, simply enjoy the moment.

¨    Humans playing dead is for Grizzly bears, not black bears.

¨    Bears standing upright is not a sign of ag- gression. The bear is only trying to see you better.

 Community School of Naples Bear Brigade!

Kids Learning

Kids Learning    Kids Learning    Kids Learning    Kids Learning


Black Bears Have a Big Diet (Sung to "Mary Had a Little Lamb")

Black bears like to eat honey

and some bees,

more honey.

Black bears like to eat honey

his fur is black as coal.


If you leave your garbage out

garbage out,

garbage out.

If you leave your garbage out, it might become bear snack


Midnight always wants donouts,

wants donuts,

wants donuts.

Midnight always wants donuts

especially jelly ones.


Black bears do not like rabbits,

or racoons,

or otters.

Black bears do not like rabits,

Perhaps they are too cute.


Midnight loves the underpasses,



Midnight loves the underpasses

cause they preventroadkill.


Black bears have a lot of teeth,

lot of teeth,

lot of teeth.

Black bears have a lot of teeth

they have about forty-two.


By: Paul & Molli

What Does Midnight Look Like? (Sung to "Mary Had a Little Lamb")

Midnight has shiny black fur,

shiny black fur, shiny black fur.

Midnight has shiny black fur

with a white chest called a blaze.


Midnight has a light brown snout,

light brown snout, light brown snout.

Midnight has a light brown snout

and ears like Mickey Mouse.


Midnight has small brown eyes,

small brown eyes, small drown eyes.

Midnight has small brown eyes

with a short black tail.


Midnight has good hearing

good hearing, good hearing.

Midnight has good hearing

and lives to thirty years.



By: Heather and Riley



Florida Gulf Coast University Wings of Hope Program