Brenda Lee, Founder and President
Working as a statistician for an analytical instrumentation firm for many years followed by a career as a marriage and family psychotherapist, she now combines her problem solving skills with her empathic nature to work on behalf of wildlife. Boulder Bear Coalition is the natural culmination of bridging her strong analytical and personal skills with her deep life-long passion to help protect wild animals. And being a bear-sitter is probably the coolest title she has ever had!
Odile Fazioni, Vice President
Odile is a life coach and world traveler. Originally from Italy, she has always cultivated a passion for animals and nature. In her own business (JYCoaching LLC) she brings together her love for animals with her coaching and communication training. Since she moved to Colorado in 2012, Odile has learned a lot about human-wildlife conflict and is committed to helping people learn how to better coexist with the local wild animals, particularly with black bears.
Blair Norman, CFR Director
Blair is our leader for the Community Fruit Rescue efforts. She helps lead hundreds of harvests throughout Boulder. By doing this, we are significantly reducing one of the main attractants that lure bears into town.
2012: Boulder Bear Coalition is Founded
2014: Bear Protection Ordinance is passed unanimously by Boulder City Council
2014: Community Fruit Rescue is Founded
2017: Food Buffer Zone is Established, In partnership with OSMP and Wild Foundation
Boulder Bear Coalition and the Boulder Edible Landscaping Working Group. The project’s mission is to inspire Boulder residents to harvest, share, and celebrate the bounty of our urban forest.
In Boulder, apples, pears, peaches, and plums fall in piles on the ground, creating a dangerous attraction for bears. To help reduce this attractant to bears, Boulder Bear Coalition helps with harvesting local fruit and brings a portion of the fruit to the bears at The Wild Animal Sanctuary.
For more information on signing up for our annual harvest, see Community Fruit Rescue.
BVSD Trip Tracker encourages and rewards students and families for using alternatives to single family car transportation to BVSD schools. Students are rewarded monthly for walking, biking, carpooling and riding either the school bus or RTD. Students receive Trip Tracker dollars that can be used like cash at participating local businesses or to donate to a short list of local non-profit organizations including Boulder Bear Coalition. We are grateful for the generous donations from students and faculty to help our efforts to protect our local black bears!
Boulder Bear Coalition is a WILD Cities Champion for Boulder Colorado with the goal of helping regenerate wild nature in urban areas to improve quality of life for all. Check out this beautiful 2-minute video to learn more about the Wild Cities Project.
When Brenda Lee moved to Boulder in 2006 she quickly realized that she shared the surrounding area with many kinds of wildlife including mountain lions and bears. She was regularly told by neighbors not to call CPW because “they are bear killers”. When a sow was killed by wildlife officers in 2009 and there was outcry from the community, Brenda began asking local animal advocates and groups about the management of bears in the area. Not getting a clear answer on why bears were being killed annually, nor finding any alternative solutions being proposed, Brenda joined CPW as a volunteer bear sitter in order to better understand bear management in town.
Throughout her training and bear sitting work, she developed a relationship with local CPW officers and an understanding on how bears are managed in Boulder. What struck her most was the lack of city involvement in how bears were managed prior to CPW being called in to deal with a bear in town. It became quite clear that the city relied on CPW officers to reactively manage any bears that had become a nuisance. No one was working on figuring out why the bears were in town and staying, and instead CPW officers were expected to respond to nuisance bears in town by relocating and/or euthanizing them. Brenda concluded that more needed to be done to proactively keep bears from coming into town in the first place and CPW should not be called unless there was a clear threat to human safety. Rather than seeing the wildlife officers as the enemy, Brenda wanted to understand why the bears were in town in the first place, find ways to reduce attractants, increase deterrents, and as a result, reduce the need for officers to be in town handling bears.
It was then that Boulder Bear Coalition was formed. Seeing a need for greater community involvement to help advocate for changes in the city we began to collect information on where the critical problem areas were, which was became quite obvious: unsecured trash in the Uni-Hill area. And this was just the beginning of a strong group of citizens rising up to be the voice for the bears and to put responsibility on the city and the community who wants to keep the bears alive.
From our initial $5,000 purchase of 20 bear resistant trash cans to sell to neighbors at cost and to show city council the variety of sizes available, to spending 20 hours/week during the bears hyperphagia period (August-October) for several years to monitor alleys for evidence of bears getting into trash we were able to work successfully with the city of Boulder to see the Bear Protection Ordinance unanimously pass! We are the largest city to pass this type of ordinance for the protection of local bears (and cleanliness of the alleys, which was an issue that needed to be dealt with as well).
We are also a part of Community Fruit Rescue, a partnership of local nonprofits formed to harvest fruit trees throughout town to reduce waste, share the harvest with local charities, and reduce fruit as a main attractant to bears. In the fall of 2016 we harvested 10,432 pounds of fruit, donated 4,319 pounds to local charities, 3,452 pounds to Wild Animal Sanctuary bears, and logged 836 hours of volunteer picking time! In 2018 we harvested over 14,000 lbs of fruit, with a large portion going to the bears at the Wild Animal Sanctuary once again!
There are many challenges to being an effective voice for protecting the bears. One of the most important aspects to success has been our ongoing efforts to understand, respect and work with city and state officials. We have taken a strong stance on the importance of finding a common goal that we all share (Keeping Bears Out of Town) and thus continue to work together to find ways to reduce attractants, increase deterrents so that bears are not comfortable being in town.
We pride ourselves on finding proactive ways to keep our local bears out of town, out of trouble and alive. We are grateful to be in a town that is full of wonderful caring citizens who want to take responsibility of how we live in order to keep our local bears wild. We have built a strong team of dedicated volunteers to continue to find ways to keep the bears safe.
Boulder Bear Coalition is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
EIN #: 46-3941088.