LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – Volunteers are planting bushes to make sure bears in the future have enough to eat. Fruitful plants will help to keep the hungry animals in their own territory instead of searching for food near humans, conservationists said.

Volunteers donated 1,000 chokecherry and wild plum seedlings which came from the Colorado State Forest Nursery.

(credit: CBS)

Forty-five volunteers, many who are members of the women’s outdoor group Bold Betties (https://www.boldbetties.com/), gathered Saturday at the Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch west of Loveland to put the baby bushes in the ground.

“Since I’m from Colorado, I’m a huge believer of respecting the wildlife that we have here,” said Natalie Plowman, a Fort Collins resident.

File photo. (credit: Nathan Knight)

David Neils, the effort’s organizer, was grateful for the respect of animals.

“What they’re doing today will have an impact for decades to come,” said Neils, also a photographer and wildlife conservationist.

(credit: CBS)

Neils’ organization, www.wildnaturemedia.com, focuses on wildlife conservation, education and research.

He enthusiastically showed the volunteers how to dig and plant the seedlings that will produce ripe fruits that are attractive to bears.

(credit: CBS)

“I mean, there’s so much food. So if we can keep the bears up here. There’s plenty of water. There’s plenty of food. They’re not going to go down to the river, get close to people, get in trouble. In Colorado, bears have two strikes before they’re potentially put down,” Neils said.

(credit: CBS)

Keeping bears in the mountains and away from cities could protect bears and humans alike.

“Happy bears, happy people,” Neils said.

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File photo of a black bear in a not-so-natural setting. (credit: Colorado Parks & Wildlife SE Region)

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