Unger to present during “Back the B.E.A.R.S.” educational event

Unger to present during “Back the B.E.A.R.S.” educational event

April 5, 2019 

Dr. David Unger, associate professor of biology at Maryville College, will give a presentation during the “Back the B.E.A.R.S.” event at Cumberland Gap National Historic Park on April 6.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and is made possible by generous funding and support from park partner Eastern National.

Unger’s presentation is titled “America’s Bear: The Ecology of the Black Bear and the Research We Use to Study Them.” He is well acquainted with bears in the Cumberland Gap region, having trapped and placed radio collars on them as part of his Ph.D. studies while at the University of Kentucky. He’ll discuss the bears that were tracked, cub production and the research used to track them.

The park is promoting the event as “one-stop bear fact shopping where visitors will have numerous opportunities to connect with black bear experts from the National Park Service and state wildlife agencies and learn how all can live together, avoid bear-people interactions and enjoy this symbol of the Southern Appalachian forest.”

According to Jenny Beeler, the park’s resource management specialist, there is much for the public to learn when it comes to bear facts.

“I’m amazed at this highly adaptable and intelligent animal and I’m continually learning more and more about bear behavior,” she said. “To help people really appreciate, understand and know what to do when it comes to bears, the park has embarked on this aggressive educational campaign ‘BACK THE B.E.A.R.S. – Be Educated and Responsible Stewards.’ We want park neighbors to also be fiercely proud and protective of bear populations in the area and the unique tourism opportunities that exist due to the black bear presence.”

In addition to exhibits and hands-on activities, the event will also feature the following speakers: Kim Delozier, retired bear expert from Great Smoky Mountains National Park and author; John Hast, Bear/Furbearer/Wild Pig Coordinator with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources; and Kathy Sherrard from the Appalachian Bear Rescue.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2019 semester is 1,148.