UMATILLA — The Lake County Department of Tourism & Business Relations is encouraging the community to visit the City of Umatilla’s Cadwell Park on Saturday, March 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the 10th Annual Black Bear Festival.
The one-day educational event is fun for all ages as thousands of Floridians and guests are expected to attend the free bash in honor of the black bear. The festival includes activities, presentations and field trips that provide participants with information about how bears live, bear behavior, how we can avoid attracting them to our home, and living and recreating safely in bear country.
The festival includes two-hour field trips into the Ocala National Forest bear habitat conducted by the U.S. Forest Service. The field trips are by bus and include a moderate hike to a site where the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists will provide participants with interactive lessons about bear biology, behavior and management. This year the festival will offer special tours to the historic cabin retreat of Archie and Marjorie Carr, affectionately known as “Florida’s First Family of Conservation.”
Festival highlights include:
• Presentations offering bear country safety tips and ways residents can co-exist with bears
• Guided field trips to bear country in the Ocala National Forest (9:30, 10:30 & 11:30 a.m.; 12:30 & 1:30 p.m.) and to the historic Carr Cabin (11 a.m. & 1 p.m.)
• Presentations by well-known naturalists, bear experts and authors, including nature author Bill Belleville and Bob Giguere at 9:30 a.m., 12:30 & 3 p.m., bear biologist Mike Orlando at 10:30 a.m., and wildlife biologist Tom Shupe at 2 p.m.
• A family activity pavilion, animal track casting and a bear scavenger hunt
• Radio Disney from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The festival is presented by Defenders of Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, City of Umatilla, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Umatilla Chamber of Commerce. For more information about the 10th Annual Florida Black Bear Festival, call (352) 669-3511 or log on to www.umatillachamber.org.