|Bear damage in the orchard.
Alberton badly needs to implement a Bear Smart Community program aimed at securing unnatural bear foods – garbage, bird feeders, pet and livestock food, small livestock, and fruit trees – so bears are no longer attracted into town. This would reduce the nuisance bear and human safety concerns while also protecting the bears. At least one bear was shot by enforcement officers in town this year, and several others were hit by vehicles on nearby roads.
Brovold Community Orchard intends to set an example for Alberton by constructing a state of the art multi-strand high-tensile electric bear exclusion fence around the orchard before next summer. The fence will cost a few thousand dollars, and we’ve been trying to raise the money through donations and grants. If you would like to contribute, you may do so at our Paypal donation link near the upper right corner of this post, or on our Go Fund Me page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/fence-brovold-orchard-to-help-bears-people . Your support is greatly appreciated.
Fall is cider pressing time at the orchard, and every year
school kids arrive to learn how to
Kids learning about bears.
pick apples and turn them into delicious apple cider. This year, two schools came over a two week span – Alberton school as well as DeSmet school from Missoula. But with there being no apples, we had to improvise. Instead of making cider, the Alberton kids enjoyed an excellent presentation on bears by Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks’ Laura Collins and Center for Wildlife Information’s Chuck Bartlebaugh. Using mounted bears and other visual aids, the kids learned to differentiate between black and grizzly bears as well as why it is important to secure attractants from bears. The DeSmet students brought their own apples and pressed them into cider. They also toured the orchard and learned about bear damage to fruit trees first hand.
There are no guarantees when it comes to raising fruit in an orchard. Most years are good, but some years are bad. 2022 will go down as the worst fruit production year in memory. Regardless, though, we had success with completion of a new parking lot this year, and we enjoyed hosting the school kids once again. We’ve already started planning to make next year a fantastic year at Brovold Community Orchard.