Saturday, May 25, 2024

Ruby U launches speaker presentations at historic Chelan Ruby Theatre

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CHELAN—The Ruby Theatre in downtown Chelan has launched a new speaker series called Ruby U. The series features free public presentations, panels, and discussions on topics of community interest. It aims to inform, educate, and challenge the understanding of the Chelan Valley community and its future.

The inaugural presentation, held on April 11, attracted over 75 attendees to the Ruby Theatre. Rich Beausoleil, Statewide Bear & Cougar Specialist from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW), along with his Karelian Bear Dog Milo, discussed black bear ecology based on a ten-year North Cascades research project. Beausoleil also provided updates on orphaned bear cubs from the Twenty-Five Mile fire, human-black bear conflict at Lake Chelan, and WDFW's successful use of Karelian Bear Dogs in the area.

Beausoleil's data-rich presentation, which included videos of Karelian bear dogs in action, highlighted the prevalence of black bears in North Central Washington, particularly in the Chelan Valley on the south shore of Lake Chelan between the State Park and Twenty-Five Mile Creek State Park. He emphasized that relocating resident adult bears is not a viable solution, as they can travel hundreds of miles to return to their home range.

The root causes of human-black bear conflict in the Chelan Valley were identified as non-bear-resistant and unsecured garbage bins, plastic lid dumpsters, calorie-rich food items like bird seed and hummingbird feeders, and unpicked fruit trees. Beausoleil provided tips and resources on how Lake Chelan residents can co-exist with bears and become a BearWise community (https://bearwise.org/). He stressed the need for revising garbage contracts and ordinances at both the city and county levels while engaging community residents.

The next Ruby U presentation, "Scenic Art for Washington Theatres," will be held on Thursday, April 25, at 7:00 pm at the Ruby Theatre. The presenter, Dr. Wendy Rae Waszut-Barrett, will be in Chelan for the week, painting new curtains for the Ruby Theatre that recreate the original 1947 curtains.

Future presentations include Nick Zentner, a geology professor at Central Washington University and creator of the PBS series "Nick on the Rocks," scheduled for May 23.

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