Frank Ritcey – “Staying safe on both sides of the glass”

Frank Ritcey – “Staying safe on both sides of the glass”
by Andrew Bryant, 15
 September 2016.

Frank Ritcey  was raised in the wilds of Wells Gray Provincial Park, and like his parents became a lifelong naturalist and conservationist. He works for WildSafe BC, is heavily involved with the Kamloops Naturalists Club, and spends much of his time filming, teaching and guiding.

Frank began with a beautiful film of grassland wildlife to introduce his topic: how can we minimize impacts on the wildlife we observe, and keep ourselves safe at the same time?    He discussed things like how to avoid being bitten by a rattlesnake (“for starters, don’t poke it with a stick”) or eaten by a cougar (“stand tall and fight back”).

He also highlighted the Wildlife Alert Reporting Program (WARP) , which logs wildlife-human encounters in BC.   Data reveal that Powell River is home to black bears and, as Pogo said, “we have met the enemy and he is us“.  Poor garbage management, unpicked fruit, and attractants such as bird feeders are at the root of most bear problems – and all too often it is the bear that pays.

And what if you’re out in the woods?  Bear-bells and bear-bangers are now considered passé, it seems.  Pepper spray is recommended.  But experts also recommend that you ensure that your can of pepper-spray is not past its expiry date, that you know how to use it – and that it’s not buried in the bottom of your pack when you need it!

We’ve have some good speakers over the years, and some talented photographers.  But in what must be a first for our club, we ended the evening with a rousing chorus of moose-calling…seriously.

Not to be missed.

But if you did, Frank has posted an appropriate YouTube video.