The 3,000 black bears that live in Florida are now foraging for food to last them through the winter.
Their instinctive need places them at risk, said David Telesco at the Florida Wildlife Commission, and about 150 bears are hit by cars annually.
"When you have bears in a landscape and they're doing well, that means that all those little critters that have smaller needs are going to be doing well because the bear is there and they have much larger needs," he said.
The Forgotten Coast Black Bear Festival in Carrabelle Saturday aims to educate the public on how people can help protect the ursine population by securing garbage and keeping pet food inside.
Florida bearsare found in forested areas around the state with high numbers in Lake and Marion counties.
Shannon Miller, Florida program coordinator for Defenders of Wildlife, said everyone can help protect the bears.
"If you are keeping your garbage in at night and waiting to put it out 'til the morning of, but your neighbor is putting their garbage out at night, then the whole neighborhood is still affected."
Miller said bears are looking to eat as much food as possible and will instinctively look for the easiest food sources, which is why garbage and pet food are common targets.