Students from Pasadena and Glendale Win Top Honors in CDFW’s Bear Aware Film Contest

Contact: Carol Singleton, CDFW Communications Office, (916) 322-8962
Rebecca Barboza, CDFW Environmental Scientist, (909) 899-0659

Black bears have emerged from their winter dens and are on the hunt for food. To help keep these bears in the wild and out of residential neighborhoods, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) challenged teen filmmakers in the San Gabriel Valley to create short films that educate residents on how to properly secure food and trash so they don’t attract bears.

The results for the Bear Aware Youth Film Contest are now in, and the first-place prize of $500 went to two filmmakers from John Muir High School in Pasadena—Jose Nuno and Alex Burgos.

“Jose and Alex’s film is a must see. They skillfully incorporated the key Bear Aware messages, as well as biological information about black bears, and did it in a way that was entertaining and funny,” said Marc Kenyon, CDFW’s bear program manager.

The second-place prize of $300 went to Hasmik Djoulakian from Clark Magnet School in Glendale, and the third-place prize of $200 went to Chase Baker, Erik Bakhshi and Boris Kitapszyan, also from Clark Magnet School.

“This is our second year holding the Bear Aware Film Contest and we were very impressed with the thoughtfulness and creativity that went into these films,” said Kenyon. “The contest is a great way to engage youth in helping to conserve our natural resources while also informing the public about their responsibilities in keeping black bears wild.”

The students’ Bear Aware Films are now posted on CDFW’s YouTube page and will be used for Bear Aware Outreach in the San Gabriel Valley. To view the films, please go to

The film contest was made possible by donations from Sierra Club ($600) and Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga ($400).

The Bear Aware Film Contest is an important component in our public outreach campaign to raise awareness about the importance of securing food and trash while in black bear habitat. Once bears become habituated to human food and trash they lose their natural ways and can become a threat to humans. When this happens, oftentimes the result is that they must be killed.

For more information on how to keep black bears wild, please visit