Lana Beattie said she’s always wanted to be a part of helping Whistler’s bear community.
“It’s always been at the back of my mind to do something to support the Get Bear Smart Society,” said Beattie, co-owner of Keir Fine Jewellery. “And recently I was able to take the time to come up with a new line of jewelry to support the society that features Jeanie the bear.”
Jeanie was one of Whistler’s most iconic black bears. She had her own Facebook page, and was featured in a documentary and book.
“She was the most well-known bear in Whistler,” said Beattie. “People came from all over the world to take her picture, and she was very distinctive. You could tell it was Jeanie by the patch of white fur on her chest. And she was very fertile. She had a lot of cubs, so you would see her with her cubs often. She was a popular bear for tourists taking Whistler bear tours.”
Unfortunately, due to escalating conflicts and interactions with people, including numerous break-ins at Whistler restaurants to obtain food, Jeanie was shot by conservation officers in October 2011.
“It was unfortunate,” said Beattie. “They had tried relocating her, but she came back to the village and was getting into trouble and teaching that bad behaviour to her cubs.”
Now featured on Keir’s new line of necklaces and earrings, Jeanie is helping other bears from suffering the same fate.
“Ten per cent of all sales of the Jeanie bear jewelry will go directly to the Get Bear Smart Society,” said Beattie. “And they not only educate people about living with the bears, but they also do things like plant berry bushes on the hill to keep the bears from coming down to the village for food.”
The Jeanie bear jewelry – available in both sterling silver and yellow gold – is being launched on Thursday (August 6) at the Keir store from 4 to 8 p.m.
“Sylvia Dolson from the Get bear Smart Society will be on hand at the event,” said Beattie. “She will be educating people on what the society does, and also telling lots of stories about Jeanie. She has amazing stories about the bears in Whistler.”
For Beattie, the new line of jewelry lets tourists and locals have a beautiful reminder of one of Whistler’s most famous bears, while at the same time helping to improve awareness about living in harmony with the resort’s bear population.
“I love the bears,” she said. “This is a great way to commemorate the life of Jeannie, and also a great way to give back to the community.”
For more information, go to keirfinejewellery.com.