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Tavares, Florida 32778

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Eighth Annual Florida Black Bear Festival to kick off Saturday, Oct. 7, at 9 a.m. in Umatilla

RELEASE DATE: October 5, 2006

UMATILLA — The spotlight will once again shine on the Florida Black Bear during the Eighth Annual Florida Black Bear Festival beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, at Cadwell Park, located at 4 Cassady St., Umatilla.

South Lake Connector
While the primary focus of the free event is to educate festival goers of the Florida Black Bear, it is a family-friendly occasion with a complete slate of fun activities, including presentations from authors and environmentalists, children’s activities and guided field trips into the Ocala National Forest to learn more about these furry mammals. Live music is provided all day on the main stage by The Remnants, Ken Skeens and Leigh Goldsmith.

The children’s activities of the Eighth Annual Black Bear Festival include bear track casting, finger painting, paleontology dig, rock climbing wall, bungee jumping and live animal encounters. However, the free three-hour field trips conducted by the U.S. Forest Service into the bear habitat are a treat for everyone. Participants will learn about bear biology, ecology and management. Individuals may register for the trips at the start of the festival. Field trips are scheduled for 9:30 a.m., 10:30, 11:30, 12:30 p.m. and 1:30.

A schedule of author and environmentalist presentations includes:

• 10 a.m. — Ed L'Heureux, "Florida Conversations"
• 11:15 a.m. — Mark Renz, "Giants in the Storm"
• 12:30 p.m. — Robert Bowden, "Florida's Top 10 Garden Guide"
• 1:45 p.m. — Jeffery Lamb, "Save the Gator Queen"

• 9:30 a.m. — Bill Dreggors, West Volusia Historical Society, DeLand House Museum, "History of the St Johns River Basin"
• 10:30 a.m. — Andrea Boliek, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Biologist, "How to Handle Bear Encounters and Understanding Human-Bear Interactions in Florida"
• 12 p.m. — Ocala National Forest Association, "Responsible and Recreational Use of All-Terrain Vehicles"
• 2 p.m. — Mike Owen, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Biologist, "Living Safely with Florida Wildlife — Alligators, Panthers and Bears”


For more information about the Eighth Annual Black Bear Festival, call (407) 323-1298 or log on to www.floridablackbearfest.org.


Lake County media contact:
Communications Department
Public Information Coordinator
Office: 352-343-9603; Cell: 352-455-0445

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