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  

1 person found this review helpful

I had to consider *MY ROLE* because I have, in fact, never been to the NABC. Yet, I visit the website daily and have since 2010 when Lily the wild black bear was in labor in a den in the woods of Northern Minnesota, I was hooked. A thirst for knowledge of not only black bears, but nature, in general. Dr Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield has never failed to amaze me. The recent addition of little Holly as indeed been a blessing. The NABC has served to educate people throughout the entire world and has developed programs to be implemented in schools to replace misconceptions that have been ingrained in peoples minds for years about black bears with current scientific research. The NABC is on my bucket list! My experiences listed below signified by *checks* are my visits by internet and heart. :)

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I really enjoyed the Bear Center. The live bears do come out of their cages and walk around a beautiful natural setting. If you are elsewhere in the Center, the loudspeaker announces when a bear is out so you don't miss it. The day I went, they were not out the entire day but for several hours. You can take photos of them from an outdoor bridge as well as watch them through a large indoor window with seating.

However, this place is about much more than just going to see live bears, and the occasional talk about them by a researcher. There are many exhibits on bear behavior, including lots of videos of bears in the wild (including footage of bears in their dens via "den cams") and other materials developed by the researchers such as recordings of sounds that bears make that can be played by pressing buttons. I also enjoyed a large exhibit on how bears are portrayed with a "fierce" image in magazines and movies, when in reality black bears just aren't that fierce. Lots of great bear photographs taken by the researchers too. For children, there is a whole children's room to teach about bears through touching things and other kid-friendly exhibits. There are some very large taxidermed animals such as a moose in addition to bears.

The NABC is one way that the Wildlife Research Institute (the research arm of the Center that studies bears and reports on the findings) educates the public. I already knew a lot about the WRI from social media, but while at the Bear Center I also had a chance to see a very nice documentary on its work with bears, which plays in the movie theater continuously. I was also privileged to take one of the classes offered by WRI researchers and learn even more about bears. This organization is the only one I know that is actively reaching out to the public about bears and getting them interested and involved.

Visit the NABC and you will probably learn some very cool things about bears. This is not simply a "bear zoo" where you take your kids to look at the bears, it's more on the level of the Smithsonian or a similar educational institution, so come prepared to learn! There are also many other ways to get information about bears from the NABC and WRI, including website updates about bears being followed by the researchers, e-mails, and social media pages. I have loved the opportunity to challenge my beliefs about bears and learn more about these wonderful creatures!

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

The Bear Center is in the process of being improved with some more engaging exhibits and I would continue to do this. Also they are getting a new little bear which I think will be interesting to visitors!

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Having fear of Black Bears as a child on in to adulthood. I found the North American Bear Center. The education about bears here is GREAT! Not only do they teach you about bears but also about the life bears live and how to live with them.

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

not change a thing

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I have made the North American Bear Center a destination vacation for three years. The opportunity to see the ambassador bears in a setting that mimics the wild habitat as much as possible for animals in captivity, has been awe-inspiring. Learning about wild bear behavior has made me better equipped to co-exist with the animals in my rural home. You can't help but become engaged by the bears and can't help but learn something in the highly entertaining yet education-centric environment. And the web-cams make it possible to "return" to the NABC any time I want.

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

I don't know of anything I would change ~ it's a well run organization with people standing in line to volunteer!

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?

2014

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Kindle your relationship with Nature and the beauty of Minnesota's Northwoods, with a visit to the North American Bear Center. Young & old alike are enthralled by the beauty of the exhibits and education about the region and its flora and fauna is achieved, almost by osmosis! I have spend several days there, and haven't absorbed everything yet. So, I'll be going back as often as I can to see the live bears & the facts about wild animals including bears and how we humans can be better neighbors to them.

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

change nothing.

Was your donation impactful?

Unlikely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

18 people found this review helpful

I have had the distinct privilege of visiting the NABC, meeting the staff, volunteers, Dr. Rogers and Sue Mansfield, and meeting THE BEARS. If you have not afforded yourself that opportunity, please put it on your bucket list! The Black Bear has been vilified erroneously for generations but if you open your minds and hearts, you will learn truth from fiction. One of the most docile of creatures whose life is spent in search of food, preferably wild, natural food, the black bear is more apt to be afraid of humans than to approach them. These huge creatures, weighing as much as 700 pounds in the wild, are gentle enough to handle a new born the size of a stick of butter without inflicting any harm. The work of Dr. Rogers and Sue Mansfield, research conducted under the auspices of the Wildlife Research Institute, is awesome to say the least, and groundbreaking. The three bears who live at the NABC are no longer "wild", but were rescued by Dr. Rogers; 2 were "pets" until they became too large for their captors. The NABC environment is as close to wild as could be... and the bears are ambassadors for their wild North American counterparts and other similar bear species world wide. I cannot say enough about the awesome experience of getting to see the bears up close, and getting to meet the folks who have made Mother Earth and the Black Bear their life's work.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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