Honeoye Falls, N.Y.- Students in the Honeoye Falls-Lima school district were ordered to stay indoors Monday because a bear was spotted in the area.
School leaders sent an automated message to parents about the school being in external lockdown as a precaution.
The action was prompted by a resident who reported to police and the Department of Environmental Conservation that they saw a young male bear in the area of Paper Mill Street Monday morning. The school district is nearby.
The DEC and sheriff’s deputies were patrolling the area in the morning as word spread through the community.
"I was up at my daughter's this morning and they called up there telling me about this so I called my husband and said be on the lookout, see if there's a bear on the porch or something?" Joan Reilly, a Paper Mill Street resident said.
"My wife called me from work, she works at the doctor's office down the street, and apparently somebody told her," Fran McGory said while adding that in 25 years he's never once heard about a bear roaming Honeoye Falls.
"Bears generally are more afraid of people than most people give them credit for so once they know there's a person there they'll generally take off and head back into the woods," New York State DEC Wildlife Manager Mike Wasilco said. "But people should take some precautions not to attract any bears into their yards."
Wasilco explained that bear sightings between May and July are common as that is the time of year when mothers drive off their young males so they can begin another mating cycle.
"Anytime anybody wants to report a bear sighting to us we'll record that and it helps us keep track of where the bear population is at so if we start having problems we know where they've been seen," Wasilco said.
The DEC also recommends that if bears are spotted in the area homeowners should take down bird feeders and be conscious of any food left outside. Other recommendations include taking trash totes to the curb as close to the morning of the scheduled pickup as possible and being mindful of sauce or food remains on an uncleaned grill.