Boy does part to save bears |

Boy does part to save bears

Rick Chandler

When 6-year-old Skyler Hardy heard that the bears were in danger, he snapped into action. He took out the garbage.

Actually it’s other people’s garbage which the Tahoe Paradise first-grader has been collecting around the neighborhood, all part of an effort to help keep black bears out of trouble.

“There are bears around our neighborhood a lot, and unfortunately there’s a lot of garbage for them,” said Skyler’s mom, Michelle Hardy. “Skyler has been real concerned about that ever since he learned that they trap bears who come around people’s houses.”

One house down the street from the Hardy residence had garbage strewn over the front yard for a period of about two weeks – most likely due to a garbage raid by a bear. Skyler would pass the house almost daily in the car with his mom, and finally he had had enough.

“They never cleaned it up,” Michelle Hardy said. “So Skyler finally took it upon himself to do something about it. He said ‘Mom, I’m real worried about the bears. I’m going to clean up that yard.’ “

So he did – filling four or five trash bags with garbage. But he didn’t stop there. Skyler regularly makes the rounds in his neighborhood cleaning up trash that might attract bears, and had collected seven trash bags full of refuse over the weekend.

“I learned about bears from my mom,” said Skyler, who is home schooled. “A lot of times they would come around and bring garbage into the woods. So I just thought I could do something about it. I like the bears; they’re neat.”

Skyler set out one day last week with several garbage bags, and cleaned up the woods behind his house.

“If the grownups weren’t going to do it, he was going to do it,” said his mom, whose home is adjacent to Tahoe Paradise Park and Lake Baron. “He gets real intent with things like that, and when that happens we just go with the flow.”

When not going to school at home or cleaning up the neighborhood, Tyler likes to barrel down the street on his wagon. He also enjoys reading, and loves to bug his younger brothers – occasionally using real bugs.

In fact, it shouldn’t be too long before Colton, 4, and Grayson, 3, get into the act with their brother to help make the area bear free.

And that’s just fine with people like Carla Ennis, a volunteer with Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care in Meyers.

“Kids love to think that there’s something they can do,” Ennis said. “So many times kids feel disenfranchised from adult problems, it’s good to see something like this going on.”

As for Mrs. Hardy, she’s quite proud of the example her son is setting.

“It’s great,” she said. “Now I just wish he’d go in and clean up his room.”

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