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"Other duties as assigned" takes on new meaning for Coloradan property manager

R8 Kristi Leinen with bicycle helmet and mud

Move over Deion Sanders because there’s another noise maker in Boulder, CO. When Region 8 Community Business Center/Property Manager Kristi Leinen started her GSA career in 1992 she had no idea that her “other duties as assigned” would include shooing away bears and other wild animals. Leinen lives in Evergreen, CO where her family is surrounded by elk, bears, mountain lions and other wildlife, so it’s no surprise that she knew exactly what to do when guards noticed bear activity on building video footage. Part of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) campus, the David Skaggs Research Center (DSRC) sits at the foot of the flatirons geological formation. 

 “I was in Fort Collins when I was first notified that there was a mama bear with one cub hanging out on the east side of the David Skaggs Research Center in Boulder,'' said Leinen. “They found a bee hive in the ground near the agricultural ditch and were meandering on the sidewalk and wooded area around the building. Luckily, we have bear-proof trash cans which are required by the City of Boulder, so they were not able to find food scraps anywhere around the building.” 

R8 David Skaggs Research Center with flatirons in background

Being the mountain gal she is, Leinen immediately called Wildlife Management and asked them to come and assess the situation. Although they determined the bears were no threat, she decided to stop at the building.  “There’s a lot of foot/bicycle traffic on the sidewalk behind the building. Many families with young children and people walking dogs use the sidewalk and I wanted to notify them of the bear activity for their safety,” explained Leinen. “I made some signs and placed tripod sign holders on the sidewalks.”

R8 Boulder bear in tree

Around 4:45 p.m. the guards notified Leinen that the bears were back. “I knew there really wasn’t anyone to call to take care of them immediately, so I went out to the area and made myself big, yelled, and shooed them away to the other side of the ditch. When they got over there, both of them turned to look at me and stood on their back legs to get a better view. They are actually really big when they’re standing up!” exclaimed Leinen. “I yelled again and they lost interest and ran away. When I went back to the building, I looked up and noticed there were people lining the walkways of the three-story atrium inside the building watching the show.  When I entered the building, some of them cheered and some were disappointed that I took away their photo opportunity.”

Leinen wants everyone to know that you should never get between a female animal and her cubs/calves. There are also many snake encounters at the DSRC. “One morning a scientist came in and found a three foot yellow-bellied racer snake on top of his big screen monitor. That one made it on the Channel 9 news,” states Leinen.  

Kristi, you are so brave! Thank you for going above and beyond to make the DSRC safe for tenants and the Boulder community.