Student videos teach Floridians to be ‘bear smart’
Friday, December 16, 2011
Media contact: Diane Hirth, 850-410-5291
The challenge to high school students was unusual: Produce a
one-minute video encouraging people to conserve Florida black bears
and take appropriate precautions when living around bears. The
response was enthusiastic: Individuals and media classes from 10
high schools applied their creative thinking to the conservation of
Florida black bears, which have made a comeback from about 300 in
the 1970s to about 3,000 today.
Students submitted 17 videos they scripted, filmed and edited
for the Florida Black Bear Public Service Announcement (PSA)
contest sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Today, the FWC announces the grand prize winner of the PSA
contest. It is Justin Burt, a student at Lawton Chiles High School
in Tallahassee, who was also the Northwest Region winner. His "Be Bear Aware" video can be viewed at www.youtube.com/MyFWCsocial.
"We looked to high school students as a great source of
creativity to get out the message about Florida black bears," said
Dave Telesco, the FWC's bear management program coordinator.
"Students rose to the occasion and produced 17 'bear smart' videos
for our PSA contest. The FWC is pleased that so many young people
got involved and worked hard to teach Floridians how to conserve
and be safe around black bears," Telesco said.
The four other regional winners of the PSA contest are:
- Belleview High School media class in Belleview (Northeast
- Lakewood Ranch High School media class in Bradenton (Southwest
- South Tech Academy media class in Boynton Beach (South Region);
- Williston High School agricultural sales class in Williston
(North Central Region).
Their videos will be uploaded to www.youtube.com/MyFWCsocial. Additional video
entries may be released at a later date.
The students and classes will receive prizes for their winning
PSA entries. FWC Community Relations Office staff from across the
state judged the videos based on their professional quality,
accuracy of information and appeal to viewers.
The contest began in May, and its original deadline was extended
For more information about Florida black bears, visit