NORTH AMERICAN BEAR CENTER

Rating: 4.68 stars   120 reviews

Issues: Animals, Arts & Culture

Location: P.O. Box 161 Ely MN 55731 USA

Mission: The Need for the Bear Center: Bears have been unfairly demonized worldwide in folklore, print, movies, and taxidermy. Generations have been raised to fear them or perceive them as economic risks. All 8 bear species are now listed as vulnerable, threatened, or endangered in parts or all of their ranges. Black bears, the most numerous species, are listed as threatened or endangered in 5 states but are expanding in the Upper Midwest and northeastern United States. There is a worldwide need to replace myths with facts, teach practical methods for minimizing conflicts, preserve habitat, and stop poaching for body parts. The need for accurate information becomes ever more urgent as more and more people move into bear habitat.
Target demographics: Bears world-wide
Geographic areas served: Ely, MN and all around the globe
Programs: The North American Bear Center is the only Science/Nature museum of its kind. Dedicated to replacing old myths with facts, it lets people learn from the bears themselves about bear behavior, ecology, and their relations with humans. In addition to our onsite Learning Center, you can view our three Ambassador Bears, play in our Cub Room, watch films in our Theater and walk along our Interpretive Trail. From the comfort of your home, you can watch two live video feeds of our bear viewing area and learn and participate on Lily the Black Bear's Facebook page. In addition, our Educational Outreach Program supplies comprehensive bear / nature curriculums and materials for K - 12th grade teachers across the country.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a remote volunteer (and donor) for four years and have been enriched by all I have learned along the way. Although I live out of state, I am dedicated to the mission of the North American Bear Center - to replace misconceptions about black bears with facts. I have visited the Center numerous times and am continually impressed and educated by the range of exhibits and programs - from the Cub Room for children to nature trails for all, behind the scenes photo tours, multi-media exhibits, life-size mounts, and a vast array of educational displays.

And, of course, a chance to view ambassador bears Ted, Lucky, Honey, and Holly as they live their bear lives in a beautiful 2-acre enclosure including waterfalls and pond.

One day is simply not enough.

Initially founded in 2007 as bear biologist Dr. Lynn Rogers' lifelong passion, the NABC is a forward-thinking organization. It has grown to create programs that reach beyond its walls - traveling black boxes for educators; daily podcasts on the activities of the ambassador bears in residence; live Web cam from the enclosure; a family-friendly Web chat room where fans become friends; international speakers bureau and volunteer program; nightly updates by Dr. Rogers himself, and so much more.

Run to Ely to visit the North American Bear Center, or at the very least, tune in!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I am a proud "virtual" volunteer with the North American Bear Center. I became involved several years ago when Dr. Lynn Rogers, chief researcher, installed a den cam that allowed the world to witness the birth of Lily's Hope and learn what happens during hibernation. Like all who tuned in, I was hooked by the thrill of watching the bear world up close and personal and learning directly from the bears. I soon became a pond chat addict, forging strong bonds of friendship with other Lily and Hope fans. A "bearhead" community was born.

As the denning season drew to a close that first year, the cameras and my attention turned to the ambassador bears on-site at the NABC, Ted, Lucky, and Honey. They live in a man-made habitat where they can forage and climb trees and play and den. I learned so much by watching their daily antics and reading about their behavior and habits in Dr. Rogers' nightly updates.

I jumped in to volunteer as the Volunteer Coordinator, formalizing and expanding the global volunteer program which has attracted talented, dedicated volunteers in 13 countries. Others jumped in to start a Facebook page and organize highly successful fund raising campaigns. The BBC jumped in to film several documentaries.

The NABC is a unique non-profit. It is the culmination of Dr. Rogers' long career thinking about and interacting with bears in an entirely new way. And, his desire to share his knowledge (replacing myth with facts) so that humans and bears can co-exist. And, his determination to stay the course despite overwhelming obstacles. Dr. Rogers embodies the American pioneer spirit.

I have had the privilege of visiting the NABC twice. It is an amazing place. The exhibits, programs, videos, mounts, and photographs are top-notch, designed with attention to detail and facts. The staff is welcoming, well-informed and dedicated to caring for the ambassador bears and educating the public. The gift shop is well-stocked with one-of-a-kind items.

The NABC is making an impact around the world - on the life of bears and the humans that want to learn about them. It is a national treasure.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Continue to expand volunteer and fund-raising initiatives.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

The NABC represents an entity that has truly made a difference in the world of nature and bears in particular. It is a place of learning, a people-oriented visiting area to see bears in a large living environment where one may see bears as they live in a totally safe place. It is not 'the wild'; it is as close as anyone can observe from a safe place. Their organization is admirable. During the time I volunteered, we viewed instruction videos, it was all so easy and doable; they have first class people working there, several who have applied their already honed skills in their previous careers, to this organization. They are all passionate and their mission is clear. I support this organization wholly in passing on all that I've learned wherever I can; as well as in the form of donations. I also support Doc Rogers' work, inspite of the 'forces' that have targeted his research, which interestingly strengthened the thought that bears are not those vicious predators that 'hunters' have made them out to be. The education and outreach programs have been superly run, and the school children who were lucky enough to see the den cams with mothers and their newborn cubs, will have a special memory and hopefully be inspired to continue the worthy mission of more bear education.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

This is a wonderful place for both children and adults to learn about bears. I've been to the NABC every 4 years and will continue to return. It's a long drive for us, but well worth it. The displays are fantastic and they are now adding another addition to the NABC...a large northwoods ecology exhibit.

The 4 ambassador bears are free to roam on 2.5 wooded acres with natural food to forage on and many trees to climb. There is a beautiful pond for them with a bridge and 3 waterfalls. It's really fun to watch the bears from an outdoor balcony or from the expansive indoor viewing window. I can't say enough about how I enjoy watching the bears interact.

I've been a volunteer den watcher for 4 years and have learned so much about mother and cub behavior. Each mother has her own individual way of caring for her cubs. I feel very appreciated for the work I do. I also volunteer on Lily the Black Bear Facebook page for the Bear Facts and Fun group adding educational information in a creative format. As humans continue to encroach on black bear territory, we need to understand these beautiful gentle creatures. The more we learn, the more we can peacefully coexist. The NABC is a great place to learn and have fun at the same time.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I learned about the North American Bear Center when the live birth of a cub named "Hope" was broadcast on the internet. Since then getting to the NABC was on my bucket list. Even though it's about an 8 hour drive from here, my husband and I have been to the North American Bear Center twice and it's been an enriching experience with so much to see and learn. You can easily spend a day browsing through the photo gallery, watching bears through a large viewing window, and watching the excellent videos. There is also an exhibit area for kids. With humans encroaching into bear territory, the center educates people about how to coexist in harmony with black bears and highlights the work of the black bear researchers. I highly recommend taking a trip there.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

19 people found this review helpful

The North American Bear Center is a wonderful place to learn about bears. There are 3 resident bears that live in a beautifully well maintained wooded area with waterfalls and a swimming pond. There is a deck and a large indoor viewing window where you can see them when they walk past. The displays and exhibits at the Center are extensive, and it's easy to spend at least one whole day visiting there. I highly recommend it and am going back again this year.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a den watcher since the winter of 2012. Seeing how mother bears take care of and interact with their infant cubs has been an invaluable experience. If not for the work NABC is doing I would still think black bears are vicious, people-eating beasts. But seeing how tender and loving momma bears are with their babies has gone a long way towards dispelling my previous notions about black bears. I would not change the experience I've had working as a den watcher for the world.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

This is my third year of volunteering for the North American Bear Center and I plan to continue! What a wonderful place! Everyone is friendly and informative. They are dedicated to educating the public about the North American Black Bear and coexisting with them. Dr. Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield do amazing work..... Love them!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

The bear center is the place to be to learn all about the center bears and the research bears!! Made my trip there last yr and I loved every minute of it! Every one should go in there life time! You will not want to leave. Very nice volunteers that work there and there is so much more to learn..Please mark this down on your list of things to do!!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I would like to say a few words on my experience going to Ely this yr for the Lilypad picnic..At first when we made it to the Bear Center to sign in for our name badges. I meet some of the Lily fans signing in an then when I walked into the Center I could not believe my eyes how Beautiful it was in side an to meet all my FB friends on Lily's wall was so uplifting an every one was very friendly an so nice to be around, Then I saw Doc walking in the door an I got the biggest bear hug from the bear man himself an it was a joy to finally meet him an meeting Mrs. Donna Rogers she is a sweet heart in an out an we talked about having Doc put some food on Pat's tree for Lucky to climb up but she said that Doc told her the bears were on a diet we laugh an then I saw Lucky coming an got over 375 pic's why I was there..At the picnic it was truly amazing an then I bough some tickets an had my Daughter Lisa put in the jar for the Ground Breaking Shovel with Doc an Donna name on it..My Daughter said mom they are calling the number for the shovel but i was doing something an then they called my name an I had tears in my I was so excited to win the shovel that started the Ground Breaking for the Hope Center...My visit to Ely was the best thing that ever happened an I hope to come back again..I say it's the best place to visit and I would recommend every one to visit Ely Minnesota in your life time. A wonderful place..Sheryl Keller

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would not change it for the world!!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

I have not been to the north american bear center but would love to see Ted-Honey-Lucky, And to see all the nice things that the center has to offer.And i have been learning all that i can about black bears with the help from Dr.Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield.I think it is wounder full to keep others educated on these beautiful animals.The more we learn the more we all understand the way these bears live.And help in the misconceptions of these beautiful animals.And I own it all to Dr.Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

As soon as you walk in the doors to the NABC, you will see many smiling faces eager to answer any questions, and to guide you through the many exhibits that are at the center. These folks are eager to educate all visitors and not just information on the black bear, but a wide variety of creatures as well, polar bears, wolves etc. You will not regret your visit to the NABC!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wouldn't change a thing. The NABC has a wonderful, talented, and knowledgeable staff. The center is filled with information, videos, and so much more about black bears/bears, information that you will not find anywhere else. This is a first class organization.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

17 people found this review helpful

The North American Bear Center has a wealth of information, but we have so much more to learn. Even Dr. Rogers will tell you after over 44 years of research, he does not know everything about black bears. A visit to the NABC in Ely MN will be well worth your time. Please support the new Education Building. Every little bit helps.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

As a volunteer I am so looking forward to my visit to the NABC in 2014. I can't wait to see the resident bears,Honey,Lucky,and Ted. The addition of Holly Bear in December is so exciting,and I can't wait to see how she reacts to her new "friends". I have been following the research of Dr. Lynn Rogers,and Sue Mansfield for four years now,and have learned so much about the North American Black Bear through their education,and webcams,and will continue to support them 100%.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

The den cams, websites online updates, emails, and of course the wonderful NABC building itself give so many opportunities to learn about black bears. Since the age of 3 I've loved bears. This wonderful non-profit organization has provided so many learning opportunities. Through Dr. Rogers' and Sue Manfields research many myths have been unraveled about bears partically the ones portraying Black Bears in a negative light. Through their education we can co-exist with these magnificent animals. I've had the opportunity to not only volunteer as a Den cam monitor but to also attend Dr. Rogers' Black Bear Field Study program. The learning experiences that I have had are amazing.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Continue to allow Dr. Rogers research to continue without threats or interference from DNR.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

This is the most amazing animal research group. They have done so much to educate the public as to the real personalities of the North American black bear and showing us that they are gentle, shy creatures. I am a 6th grade teacher in So. Calif. The work of the NABC/WRI has been a mainstay in my science curriculum because of the real life/real time information my students have learned. I still have students from the first year the den webcams were shown (Lily and the birth of Hope) who contact me each year to tell me they too are still learning and following the bears. My students all feel they are part of the research as we all learn together. I can't say enough about Dr Rogers, Sue Mansfield and the other people with the NABC. Outstanding biologists as well as very ethical people.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful?