The fifth Alaska Bear Festival will take place in Homer March 28 and 29, with a variety of activities focusing on bear viewing in Southcentral Alaska.
Festival activities, which include a forum on bear viewing practices as well as a film festival, will take place in the Mariner Theater at Homer High School.
Previous bear festivals held in Soldotna and Anchorage have emphasized important bear management issues, such as the status of Kenai brown bears and reducing conflicts between bears and people.
As in previous years, at the forum on March 29, invited speakers will discuss the latest in bear management in Southcentral Alaska as well as bear viewing practices that have been developed through a cooperative effort involving state and federal agencies, guides and the public.
The forum will begin at 10 a.m. and includes presentations on a variety of topics.
A panel discussion is slated for 2:45 p.m., and the forum concludes with presentations on bear viewing methods and means at 4 p.m.
There also will be a kids' program at the Pratt Museum Saturday from 1-2 p.m. There is no charge for the forum or the kids' program.
Changes to the festival include the addition of a film festival on bears that will feature not only several award-winning films, but award-winning filmmakers as well.
The keynote speaker for the festival will be Joel Bennett from Juneau, who is internationally known for his outstanding wildlife films and TV programs.
The film festival begins at 7 p.m. on both March 28 and 29.
Admission to the film festival for adults will be $6 for either night or $10 for both nights. Tickets for kids under 12 will be $3 a night.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or a week in advance at the Pratt Museum in Homer or Metro Music and Book Store in Anchorage.
A number of co-sponsors and local commercial and nonprofit organizations will have exhibits in the commons area of the high school.
For those who want to attend, Era Aviation is offering a special rate to Homer. The Homer Chamber of Commerce has listed a number of bed and breakfasts that will be open during the festival. More information on both can be obtained from festival organizer George Matz.
For more information, contact Matz at (907) 345-3139 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The festival program is posted on the Internet at www.anchorageaudubon.org.
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