Debbie Read (aka Debb) is donating her program Wild Wise.
A recent partnership grant with Lush Cosmetics has allowed Debbie to step back. Last spring with a recommendation from Bear Aware, Wild Wise received funding from Lush Cosmetic Charitable Giving Fund. The grant was accepted; Debb’s Wild Wise Program now could pay an hourly wage, and operate self sufficiently in Sooke. A Community Coordinator stepped in able to obtain a salary and funding to run the program
“I was ready for a rest,” says Debb. “I’ve volunteered for years and the program has grown and developed to be a busy job, with this grant I know the program will live on.”
The new Wild Wise Community Coordinator will reap the benefits, run, and operate the program.
Although Debb has stepped down from running the program, she will be still offering some volunteer time and knowledge to the community. She hopes to be called on for her expertise and invited to some of the Working Group meetings.
Debb started the program nine years ago, after seeing a real need in the community for bear education. She attended wildlife education workshops and training and started to share her knowledge with the public. Over the past nine years, Debb has created a successful bear education program for the Sooke community and WWS has had many accomplishments. Teaming up with Transition Sooke Society, she was able to participate in the Sooke community Grant program, this funding used for materials and tools, flyers and signage to run the program.
Debbie collaborated with provincial leaders, Conservation Services, and other wildlife groups to create a successful program for the community.
Since starting the program, educating the community reduced the amount of human-bear conflicts, the number of “garbage bears” euthanized and consequently has saved countless bears.
You might have seen Debb putting up the bright yellow “Bear in Area” signs on your road or had her knock on your door to drop off a flyer and let you know about recent bear activity in your neighbourhood. She also attended most community events and fairs, community talks, TV, radio interviews, had regular newspaper articles in both Sooke PocketNews and the Sooke Mirror, did regular public education presentations, attended local schools and school events– the list goes on.
As a volunteer she put in many hours and was very committed, often using her own funds to operate the program.
Debb would like to thank all who helped grow the program: A Special Thank You to:
Conservation officers Peter Pauwels, Richard Dekelver, Scott Norris, Sooke Mirror, Sooke PocketNews, Transition Sooke, Lush Cosmetics, BC Hydro, Coast Capital, Sooke Municipality Staff, RCMP, Jeff Bateman, Laura Hooper, Medea Mills Brenda Parkinson, Maya Tait, Nitya Harris.
Appreciates goes out to all those who volunteered their time to the program and the many local organizations and volunteer groups who assisted her in Support and Educating the community.