Death of Bear 211 encourages environmentalism within Westport community

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Photo by Jason Stein '22

Horticulture teacher Cecilia Duffy encourages environmentalism within Westport.

Jason Stein ’22, Staff Writer

As the three month anniversary of Bear 211’s death comes near, new discussions about wildlife protection have rallied Westport residents to take action.

Before dying of a hit-and-run, Bear 211 – a charming ear-tagged black bear who sprawled across many Fairfield County yards – amassed a Facebook group of over 5,000 followers. 

Shortly after Bear 211’s death, Wildlife in Crisis, a wildlife care and conservation center based in Weston, turned to social media to increase the awareness of necessary changes within the suburban community. 

“Enlighten your neighbors,” Wildlife in Crisis posted on Facebook. “Don’t use pesticides, rodenticides or herbicides, and work towards banning them […] the time is now to preserve what little is left of open space.” 

Leading the tribute, many Westport residents took to Facebook to emphasize the damaging effects of pesticides on dwindling suburban wildlife. 

One Westport resident, Jennifer Vogel, was inspired by these newfound concerns and decided to stop using pesticides within her yard.  

“Within a few months, my yard had flourished with wildflowers, butterflies and raspberries,” Vogel said. 

Although Bear 211’s death occurred in July, science teacher Cecilia Duffy regards the celebrity bear’s demise as a valuable lesson. 

“I agree with Wildlife in Crisis […] we need to leave wildlife be and work towards preserving open space,” Duffy said.

Outside of teaching Horticulture and AP Environmental Science at Staples, Duffy actively works towards protecting wildlife in her backyard and the community. 

“I have allowed my front lawn to grow into a meadow. I don’t use pesticides unless it is my last resort,” Duffy said. “I am on the Pollinator Pathway and Monarch Waystation as well.”

“I have allowed my front lawn to grow into a meadow. I don’t use pesticides unless it is my last resort. I am on the Pollinator Pathway and Monarch Waystation as well.””

— Cecilia Duffy

By changing a small habit or joining a local conservation center, Duffy encourages more Westport residents to get involved in their community. 

“I am not a perfect steward,” Duffy said, “but I try my hardest to take care of this place we all call home, the earth.”