If bears sent thank-you notes, they'd be addressing a bundle of them to schoolchildren in Utah.
Over the past year, 13,665 students in local schools participated in the "Help Us Save the Yellowstone Bears" project sponsored by Maverik Country Stores in Utah and Wyoming.Taking part were 44 schools in Salt Lake City, Sandy, Midvale, Murray, Centerville, Vernal, Logan, Smithfield, Brigham City, Clearfield, Ogden, Orem, Provo, Richfield, Clinton, Magna, Layton, Sunset, Roy, Roosevelt, Garland, West Valley City, West Jordan, Kearns, Bountiful, Farmington, Hyrum, Millville, Midway, Tremonton, Heber, Riverton and Wellsville.
Students completed a reading program to earn money for the project. William Call, Maverik Country Stores president, promised to donate $1 to Yellowstone National Park Management Program for each finisher. The reading program took students through several levels, each with an incentive to continue to a harder level.
This month, Call presented a $30,000 check to the park, including $6,000 that represented the student effort.
The money will support an effort to ensure the future of Yellowstone bears. Bears will be relocated as necessary. A computer will be purchased for the park's bear management office, along with radio tracking equipment, a specially equipped truck and other equipment used in bear management.
Of the total, $5,000 went to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and will be matched by the foundation to fund an information program in the park and surrounding communities.
Utah had the largest student involvement among the Western states involved in the program.