by Cathy McCartney

It's because New Jersey was the first state with a large active and vocal group of people who speak out for these animals. Newspapers don't write stories about dead bears. They write about the people protesting behind them. Because every good story has a villain, a victim, and a hero. And New Jersey bear advocates are the heros. They're arming the bears – not with shotguns, but with something much more powerful – their voices.

The Bear Group is the only organization in the state dedicated solely to protecting New Jersey's bears. Thanks to them, not only did three governors call off bear hunting during their terms, but the public is now more educated about bears – with the majority in favor of humane bear management.

And on a personal note, being a volunteer for black bear protection is how I learned to speak in public without fainting. It's why I get to tell the story about that bear cub falling out of a tree and into my arms. And it's the reason I don't (usually) get lost in the woods.

This blog isn't dedicated only to bears…it's dedicated to the people I've met along the way, and to everyone who finds it in themselves to fight to protect these animals – till we no longer have to.

Note: ARM THE BEARS is not affiliated with the BEAR EDUCATION AND RESOURCE GROUP and does not necessarily reflect their views.