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YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – YHC student Jillian Dixon is interning for the Appalachia Georgia Friends of the Bears (AGFB) to acquire and compile public data from county agencies in Georgia on road-killed black bears to help shape wildlife policy. The results are mutually beneficial: AGFB is receiving valuable insight from Dixon, a biology major from Acworth, Georgia, and Dixon is gaining invaluable hands-on experience.

The Appalachia Georgia Friends of the Bears’ mission is “to reduce Human-Bear conflict through proactive educational outreach programs, increasing public awareness about coexisting with black bears, the use of humane bear deterrents, and advocacy.” AGFB is a relatively new organization having just celebrated its second anniversary. They are present at a number of local festivals and venues and offer K-8 lesson plans on their website,

Dixon is taking on a number of responsibilities in order to help AGFB further its mission. She will identify potential wildlife corridors while discussing issues and making recommendations. She will comb social media, legacy media, and other means to obtain public input on Black Bear road-kill while developing an appreciation of the importance of partnerships between non-profits, academia, private enterprise, and government agencies. These tasks, among others, will coalesce into a report that outlines the findings with supporting documentation, maps, spreadsheets, and notes that cover select Black Bear primary range counties.

While all of these duties will consume Dixon’s day-to-day work, the goal will be to help these communities develop a better appreciation of the intrinsic value of the American Black Bear.

“We are excited to provide this opportunity for Jill,” says Gerald Hodge, Founder & CEO of AGFB. “She will bring to us her academic experience and apply it to a real-world issue. Her work will immediately inform us on how to help shape wildlife policy to both educate humans and keep the Appalachia Georgia American Black Bear safe!”

If your business is interested in partnering with Young Harris College to offer internships or jobs, please contact Dilyn Cox, Coordinator of Student Work & Internships, at (706) 379-5374 or [email protected].

About Young Harris College

Young Harris College is a private baccalaureate and master’s degree-granting institution located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires, and empowers students through an education that purposefully integrates the liberal arts and professional studies. The College has four academic divisions: Fine Arts; Humanities; Mathematics, Science and Technology; and Professional Studies. More than 1,400 students are enrolled in its residential and Early College programs. The College is an active member of the NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. For more information, visit