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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

North American Bear Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Services, Animals, Arts & Culture, Museums, Wildlife Sanctuaries

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 myths and misconceptions 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 four 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 and North American Bear Center Facebook pages. In addition, our Educational Outreach Program supplies comprehensive bear / nature curriculums and materials for K - 12th grade teachers across the country.

Community Stories

144 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Becky R

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We just love the NABC !!

I've been to the NABC many times over the past 6 years - including summer 2018. When I say many times, we live in the UK, so we tend to visit Ely for about a week at a time - and within each week we probably go to the NABC 4 or 5 times.!!


The NABC provides a unique experience to read and learn about Bears - especially American Black Bears, as well as the nature that lives in the surrounding area.

Within the bear center, there are many exhibits and video clips showing things such as bear behaviour, vocalisations, food and misconceptions. There is a theatre to watch longer bear films, and the Northwoods ecology hall which has exhibits of other animals and habitats which are found in the surrounding Northwoods area. In 2018 there is a new exhibit on Dr Lynn Rogers, who has been studying black bears for over 40 years - and who set up the NABC and has provided many of the photo's there.

The highlight though of any visit is seeing the bears !. There are 4 Ambassador bears - Ted, Lucky, Holly and Tasha - each has some information about them in the center and then you can sit and watch/ view the outside area. (either from inside or outside). The bears rotate - so are not always out in the main enclosure - or if they are in the enclosure you may not be able to see them (its about 2.5 acres)- however there is 'enrichment time' when the bears are given enrichment treats and the NABC also offers a 'behind the scenes' tour where you walk to see which ever bears are currently in their own enclosures.

There is a 'beary' good gift shop to see on the way out - and leaving Ely doesn't mean leaving the NABC as the team have web cams in various locations that allow around the year live feeds from the NABC. The staff at the NABC are all friendly and knowledgeable - often volunteering for the roles they do.

The NABC provides facts and data to make you question some of the assumptions we all have about these wonderful animals. Definitely worth a few hours of your time...….. we hope to go back again soon.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am from the UK and have always been interest in wildlife. About 5 years ago myself and my wife went to Canada and went on a trip with someone who has been studying Black Bears for over 20 years. When we got back to the UK we came across a BBC TV documentary about Dr Lynn Rogers who has been studying them for more than 40 years.

We both wanted to come to Minnesota to see for ourselves the Bear Center so we came over in 2014. We were so impressed by what the Center does in educating us all on the lives of these wonderful animals that we have comeback to Minnesota another 2 times in 2016 and also in August 2018. We have therefore seen the positive transformation of the Center over these 4 years and the additional educational features than have been added. The people who work at the Center are so committed to the project and they give such a positive perspective on the Bears. There are 4 captive bears (Ted, Lucky, Holly and Tasha) at the NABC. It is obvious that they are so well cared for and have lots of space (2.5 acres I believe) to roam around in and do what Bears do.

They operate on a small budget and most staff are volunteers who do an amazing job and are very knowledgeable. There are staff members around the Center to offer assistance with information should you be interested in learning. The building is massive and there are so many educational displays both on televisions screens, a movie theatre and beautifully presented information boards that you could easily spend a couple of days reading and watching everything there is to see. Both children and adults enjoy seeing the bears from the huge glass windows or go upstairs on to the outside deck. It is amazing to see such a heavy animal climb so quickly and easily. You get the chance to go out back on a behind the scene tour and see the bears close up too. Again children and adults have plenty to see to keep them all interested and entertained. The admission price is very reasonable and I would expect it to be at least double what it is. It is well worth the price. There is also an extensive gift shop with loads of variety. I highly recommend visiting The North American Bear Centre.

In summary the Bear Center is so lucky to have Dr Lynn Rogers spend his entire life learning about these beautiful animals and to give us this informative centre. I know we will keep coming back.

1 Gala M.

Donor

Rating: 5

This was an amazing place. The work that Dr. Rogers has done is out of this world. I learned so much. Will be going again!

1 Don- J.

Donor

Rating: 5

Great organization. Been there 3 times since 2010, an hope to visit them in 2017. The resident bears are awesome to see in person in the summer. You can also watch them on live cam daily. There are daily presentations given outside with the resident bears present by the interns that are very knowledgeable. The bears inhabit about a 2 1/2 acre enclosure , designed with the bears happiness in mind. There are also daily 'met the bears' behind the scenes tours to get up close an personal. Of course there is a fence between you an the bears, at all timers, since it isn't a petting zoo. It is worth the time to visit when in Ely, Minnesota. Please also visit The International Wolf Center, an Dorothy Molter Museum.

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3

Donor

Rating: 5

GREAT place to visit. i was there in 2013 an will go again in 2014. the bear center has brought me back to journeys to ELY,MN after many years of not going there. NABC has given me a MAIN REASON for going again. TED, LUCKY, an HONEY are so interesting to watch an enjoy. the addition of HOLLY bear in DECEMBER gives added incentive to visit. ALL the bears are greatly loved an cared for.

ANY negative comments in reviews are by a couple people with personal vendetta against NABC an people who support the organization. please ignore their untruths.

i have donated to NABC an will continue to.

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Emily22

Donor

Rating: 5

I have not been able to physically visit the Wildlife Research Institute and the North American Bear Center in Ely, but I feel as if I have. The research done by Dr Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield has been significant in opening the eyes of so many people around the world about the true nature of black bears. Along the way, Dr Rogers has taught us much about other wildlife in the area and the ecological consequences of many human endeavors...both positive and negative. We have also learned of the difficulties of dealing with the many misconceptions about black bears, even among those who should be the protectors of this wildlife resource. I donate as often as I am able to WRI and the NABC, and look forward to the long continuation of this research.

1 handymandy

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've been to the bear center 4 times when I've traveled to Ely for an annual gathering of bear supporters and friends. It is one of the highlights of my trip! It has so much information on bears and how to coexist with them. The recent additions and improvements make it a state-of-the art museum! And I adore seeing the resident bears, Ted, Lucky, Holly, and now Tasha. If you haven't been there it's worth the trip!

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3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been to Ely the last 3 summers for vacation. The first place I stop is the NABC. I love to go there, see the displays and see the bears. Contrary to some other reviews I've read, they do not keep the bears "locked up" in cages. They have their den areas where they rest but the bears are out a lot. I particularly enjoyed seeing Holly, the newest resident bear. This 19 month old bear is a joy to watch. It's especially fun to watch her and Lucky play and to see her start to stand up to Honey, the dominant female. The staff and volunteers are great. They are always ready and willing to help, to answer questions or to inform us of what the bears are doing and why. The gift shop has a lot of merchandise, most of which is very reasonable. I could have spent a lot of money there. I highly suggest people stop by there, especially if you have children. It's very educational. Before I started going to Ely, I thought all bears were aggressive and violent. Not so with the American Black Bear. They are gentle creatures. They are very smart. They are wonderful mothers to their cubs. Do yourself a favor. Go see the NABC.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering for this organization a few years ago. I had been following them for several years prior to that and decided that I wanted to be a part of this team, in whatever manner i could..
What I've found is that people all over the globe volunteer for this organization.These people give their time for a company that is striving to educate everyone on the scientific research information that comes from years of study.
Working with all of these wonderful human beings is such a great experience and I have learned so much from being a part of this amazing group of people. Information that was learned from my childhood has proved to be false, which gives me much knowledge to continue to grow as a person.
I strongly advocate for the North American Bear Center (NABC) and hope you find this information useful and give them a 'look'.. One of the links for more knowledge is: http://www.bear.org/website/
Their 'sister site' for additional information is: http://www.bearstudy.org/website/

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

One of the best things I ever found was the bear.org site for the NABC.I have always loved bears- Smokey Bear was my favorite book- so when I saw on the news that a bear was going to be born live on camera I tuned in and was hooked on this place. I waited and waited for days - setting my alarm hourly during the night to check if a cub had arrived yet. Then watching and hearing the new cubs was amazing. Watching them grow was amazing and the information that I learned and the old myths that were dispelled kept me coming back for more and more . Then I was asked to volunteer as a moderator. It has been one of the best experiences I have had. I can't say enough about the level of education the NABC provides to anyone interested in learning. From the cub room for the youngest visitors to seeing the live bears up close on a behind the scenes tour to learning and sharing on the chat page for those too far away to visit. You know they are doing something right when you have guests and volunteers from all over the world. People fly across the ocean to visit family- see New York and other popular destinations but to have world travelers make The North American Bear Center their destination speaks volumes about how wonderful the NABC is

5 Lisa589

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Everyone there is so inviting to answer any questions, the staff are amazing. Its a great place to learn not only about black bears but other wildlife.

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

The North American Bear Center is a wonderful educational facility. It has something for everyone. Whether you are interested in science, biology, or nature, you are sure to find something of interest. All of the displays are easy to read and understand. The videos of wild bear behavior are outstanding. You could easily spend 3-4 hours there and still not see everything. What better way than to learn directly from the bears?

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

​NABC has so much useful information on how to co-exist with black bears. As well as what to do when or if encountering them and how to prevent encounters. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Will take the time to discuss in detail any questions you have. Always very friendly. Pleasant way to start the day in the chat room chatters and moderators are the best for family friendly interactions.

6 Grace45

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I were able to drive up to Minn from Alabama to visit the Bear Center a couple years ago, we had been watching the den cam's in the wild and at the center before that, was over joyed to get to meet the staff and see the bears at the center in person. Since that visit they have done many more updates and improvements to the center, it's still on our bucket list to go back again. I have had the joy of being included as one of the online chat mod's for the bear center and have learned so much from the staff, other mod's, Doc and the researchers. I even won a personal phone call from Doctor Rogers, that was like a phone call from our own kind of Rock Star :) or should I say Bear Star, CrittersRUs

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an exceptional educational facility devoted to teaching the truth about black bears. The Northwoods Ecology Hall focuses on the other animals they must co-exist with in Northeastern MN. They have 4 resident Ambassador bears . Hourly programs are offered to see these bears close up. Worldwide podcasts daily for additional learning anywhere in the world. Numerous exhibits, videos, pictures and documentaries for additional indoor learning. Knowledgeable staff to answer all your question. A must see if you are in Northeastern MN.

4 Anita58

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This year was my 6th annual trip to NABC from the UK. Each year I have seen improvements have been made. Apart from the bears who are always a joy to watch, there is always so much to learn. Not just about bears but all wildlife of the Northwoods. The staff are always very welcoming and so helpful, always willing to stand and talk to you and answer any questions. And this year the outside has a stunning new entrance - especially seeing it at night it really catches the eye. This year there was another new bear to get to know - Tasha - a little cutie. But it was sad that dear Honey had passed on due to old age - she was a much loved bear. She has been laid to rest near the carpark with lovely tributes. It is good to know that the bears are so cared for and loved even when they have passed. I will certainly be going back next year and will look forward to it. And in the meantime I am so glad to be a volunteer, which I have done since 2011.

5 Patie M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a fabulous educational experience. I hope many more people can visit and learn about the bears.

5 SmittenbyBears

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for three+ years with this remarkable organization that strives to replace misconceptions with facts about the true nature of black bears. I love visiting the Ely, MN Center, a truly one-of-a-kind facility. It's a treat to see the four magnificent ambassador bears that help people learn from the bears themselves. I have learned so much from the wealth of interesting exhibits, articles, photos and videos and the engaging staff that provides wonderful care for Ted, Lucky, Holly and Tasha. Even at home, I am able to visit virtually every day through the Center's live webcams and chats. The North American Bear Center, by carrying out its mission to advance the survival of bears worldwide, is helping people learn to co-exist peacefully with black bears and I am grateful to be part of that!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great place to learn more about Bears and other wildlife. I truly enjoy visiting the North American Bear Center. The staff and volunteers are so friendly and helpful. The NABC is a very educational place and the resident bears are a delight to observe. Great place and I highly recommend that you include a stop here during any visit to Ely.

5 Sheryl K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter and I had the most enjoy able time visiting the North American Bear Center in Ely a few yrs back for there Lily Pad Picnic! A great place to take the family and u get to see Ted, Lucky, Holly, and now Tasha! Please make a trip there it is beautiful and the people are so bear friendly!

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5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!!

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2 Terri86

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In the four years that I have volunteered for the North American Bear Center, I have witnessed unwavering dedication to bears. Not only has the NABC added extensively to its physical facilities, but all involved work tirelessly to involve the worldwide public in observing and learning about bears through live webcams and numerous outreach resources including speakers and materials for educators and groups. Drawing on the researchers' many decades of data, as well as their own experience, staff members are bursting with knowledge about these fascinating creatures and are just bursting with excitement about sharing it.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The North American Bear Center is one of the best attractions in Ely, MN. Visitors learn about black bears and also learn about all species of wildlife in the north woods eco system.

It can be visited for an hour or for an entire day, based on the amount of information you want to take in from the multiple displays, movies, or the "behinds the scene" tour, to see the live bears up close.

Each year there is something new and different. This is a powerful way to learn about all north woods wildlife species and is a summer adventure I never miss. ELy is very fortunate to have the North American Bear Center to educate the public about behavioral patterns of the Black Bears.

5 Mike196

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer moderator who moderates chat on the live cameras of the NABC website. I came across NABC in 2010 watching a bear in the wild give birth in her den on camera. I was fascinated with bears before so that was wonderful seeing the birth and growth of a cub. Then I learned that the biologist and researcher, Doctor lynn Rogers, who placed that camera in the den also walked up to awake wild free bears in the forest and placed tracking collars around their necks. That seemed impossible and frightening to me. I had to find out more . i found out that much of what I "knew" about black bears was wrong. NABC is dedicated to educating people about what the real nature and tendencies of black bears (and to a lesser degree other bear species) in the hopes that truthful researched and published scientific facts about bears will help us to coexist with them to the greatest extent possible. Replacing myth and irrational fears with facts is seldom a bad thing so I volunteered to help in my small way. Ive had almost entirely good experiences from this and I am better off in the ways that are easier to feel than to describe or put numbers to from interacting with the wonderful people involved with "our" bears.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The North American Bear Center is a wonderful organization focusing it's efforts at educating the public about black bears and other wildlife native to northern Minnesota. The facilities are beautiful and the staff outstanding. I'm proud to be a volunteer.

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6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been to the NABC several times in the past year and will happily go back again and again. The displays are educational and easy to understand. Knowledgeable and friendly staff and volunteers are available to explain everything. It's a family friendly place with displays and interactive areas just for kids. Honey, Ted and Lucky, the resident bears, provide an up close look at an animal that most people will never see in the wild. I'm looking forward to the opening of the educational center next spring.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It is a must see educational experience from the driveway to the entrance of the Bear center WOW then you step in and it takes your breath away !! through out the Bear center nothing but excitement and it changes your thoughts about Black Bears and sends you in a direction you never expected to get to. behind the scene tours are no charge and cap off a great experience !!

3

Donor

Rating: 5

My experience with this non profit has been exceptionally positive. The education provided to visitors to the NABC is well detailed, informative, and interesting. The staff at all levels are helpful and professional.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been affiliated with the North American Bear Center as a volunteer since 2010 when I was enticed into watching a live den cam of a female bear (Lily) giving birth to a singleton cub (Hope). It was love at first sight as I learned more and more about the nature of these intelligent, shy creatures. I watched with pride as the Center grew from one man's dream (Lynn Rogers, Ph.D) to a national treasure of black bear education and advocacy. The NABC is currently home to four ambassador bears enjoying nature in a 2-acre habitat and has expanded to include not only bear exhibits, but also those depicting Northwoods flora and fauna in all seasons. It has developed highly successful international volunteer and internship programs and has created outstanding educational programs for both adults and children. It is an honor to be associated with this highly acclaimed, world class educational center that is meeting its mission of replacing myths about black bears with facts.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

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2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Absolutely wonderful place to visit if you want to learn more about bears, their habitat and behaviors. Also a lot of information regarding other wildlife who share the Northwoods. I have been to the NABC at least 4 times and never get tired of learning....you can't help but learn when you go there! the videos are the best.....to see actual bear behavior in the wild is priceless. And I will DEFINTELY be going back....there's always more to learn!

2 dbialek

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

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2

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

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2 Barb24

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been to the North American Bear Center numerous times. I HIGHLY recommend it to everyone, including families with children. If anyone wants to hear the truth about black bears, this is the place to go. There are many display's and articles about black bears. There are also 4 resident black bears that live there that cannot be released back into the wild for numerous reasons. Please give yourself at least 2 hours to see everything. I assure you, you will not be disappointed.

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3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful place to learn the truth about black bears.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

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. :)

2 Suzie Saliga

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

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3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

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2 Kerry M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have visited the NABC the past five years, and hope to continue every year ~ it is such a grand place to learn, meet wonderful people who work there, see the resident bears, and just walk around watching videos and looking at pictures. They have a fantastic enrichment program and the staff are incredibly dedicated and helpful. There is so much to learn from visiting the center, you will want to come back for more. The Hope Learning Center is coming along nicely and it, too, will have vital information about the true nature of black bears and their lives. It's a magical experience...

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5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The North American Bear Center in Ely Minnesota has become one of my most favorite places to go every year. The Center is packed with information from videos to books to pictures - and the three bears that reside there are visible from outside viewing to a huge window inside the Center. There are daily gatherings, teachings, exhibits and more ~ a children's section and new Hope Learning Center soon to open. One could spend a day there and not see it all! The gift shop has something for everybody - at great prices. It has provided thousands of visitors a chance to truly understand the Black Bear and how to co-exist with them. The staff at the NABC consists of loyal, hardworking and knowledgeable employees and volunteers who make it their mission to give each and every visitor a warm welcome and a reason to return. There is something for everyone - regardless of age - to learn and to remember with fondness. It is a magical experience, for sure.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1 Lori110

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

5 Mary66

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

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18

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

4 Diane90

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have followed the work of Dr Rogers and Sue Mansfield of the NABC and the WRI in Ely, MN. I have to say they have changed my entire view of the North American Black Bear. Learning about how they live, what causes them to react to many things, and how to deal with being around a black bear, is so great to know. I do not fear them, but I respect them as Dr. Rogers says, he teaches how to co-exist , yet in the realm of things he teaches how to hunt as well in a way that is most humane. Wonderful place to see, wonderful place to learn.

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3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for years for this wonderful organization, I have learned so much, and help to educate people on the importance of co existing with our wildlife, in this case Black Bears. I respect the work and dedication, Dr Rogers and Sue Mansfield have done. The hours of work, and more than 250 volunteers make this a wonderful place to visit and learn.

3 Michele21

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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%.

6 Shannon56

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful place to take you family for a visit a learn all about the black bear .

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4

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been watching the Ted, Honey and Lucky now for 5 years from the pond chat at NABC , This is a wonder place to learn about the black bears, and they also have a wonderful gift shop. ..

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Under new management, very poor experience! We waited for over an hour to see a bear only to eventually find out they were locked up away from visitors view. Walking around the few exhibits we had questions but no one there could answer them. $38.00 for 4 of us, definitely not worth the money.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

In 2013, The bears are now locked up in small cages all day long. But when I visited in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and all 3 bears were visible if you stayed for more than an hour. The bears now look depressed and angry . Why ?
The new staff does not appear to know how to run the place. The have scripted answers for your questions, and it feels like a museum. They call it a museum now, and ignore the needs of the resident bears.

Review from Guidestar

2

Donor

Rating: 3

I rate them a 3-1/2. Well first off, I rarely rate anything with the "highest" or the "lowest". To make it to this list it shows me that the organization has worked hard, but there is always room for improvement. If someone gives them a "1" it shows me that it is a disgruntled employee (past or present) or unfortunately a visitor that talked to an employee that day that probably shouldn't be working there. And if there is a "5" rating I question that because there is "always" room for improvement and I wouldn't want to close the door by the "5". All corporations have these problems.
I visited in September 2011 and found they were going through "growing" pains and employee changes. However, the bears were well taken care of and the employees I encountered were polite and professional, even though it was an emotional day for them with "Hope".
Now with the new cub "Holly" they will face even more challenges and people that won't agree with them. However, I believe their number "1" focus is the bears and they are trying to improve their life and surrounding forest. It is important for people to realize these are wild animals that are not able to return to the wild because of humans. We must remember they are not pets and try and give them a surrounding they might have had in the wild. Takes time and patience. Let the professionals do that and outsiders can learn from it.
They do need help on their live "chat" pages. Unfortunately it is difficult for the moderators to determine who is actually interested in learning about the bears or trying to create an unstable chat room.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

So exciting for the educational bldg. and Holly the bear cub this year! Everyone will enjoy it!
Susan999 was dissatisfied with the viewing arrangements on her trip there this month and gave a 1 star. I hope we all can talk her into coming back again in the summer. The bears will be out and enjoying the pond and land.
The antics of the new cub will be priceless! Maybe the Bear Center can give Susan999 a discount.
I guarantee she will have a better experience.
I have learned so much about bears in the past couple years. Many more years of learning to come!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

The North American Bear Center and the Wildlife Research Institute have studied the black bears of the Minnesota north woods for 40 years. Their innovative approach to working with bears without tranquilizers or invasive means has allowed them to see bears in their natural habitat and in their relationships with other bears and their own cubs. The den cams allowed, for the first time, researchers and the world to rejoice in the birth of Hope on camera. She was later murdered by a human predator. The Hope Learning Center is in her honor. This is an OUTSTANDING organization that is truly a Great Non profit and deserves the support of all who enjoy wildlife.

6 Cyndi4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

3 Paula32

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization opened my eyes to the wonderful world of black bears. I had always respected them, but NABC has educated my family and me about how the intelligent and peaceful bears are. This research group is absolutely wonderful and I have never been associated with such a highly respected organization. I am very thankful for all the wonderful work they & I know God is blessing them.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

The North American Bear Center is great non-profit providing valuable information to learn how to co-exist with these beautiful bears. I have learned more about black bears from NABC than anywhere else. The three bears at the center are loved and well cared for by a dedicated staff. I would recommend anyone who has an interest in wildlife and ecology to visit the center or their web page at www.bear.org

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

3 Emma12

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've learned so many things about the black bear from the North American Bear Center. This organization has taught me and countless others, how and where black bear den, what happens in the den during birth, family interactions, what bears eat & how they survive in a bad food year, how bears are not the ferocious animal that some make them out to be, how mother bears share their territory with their cubs & possibly the most valuable information they provide is, the importance of people learning to coexist with bears and how this is possible. This is just a smidgen of the information learned from the North American Bear Center. The information about black bears, that they provide is priceless. They make learning fun and interesting and I recommend them to every one I know.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Have had an interest in bears for many years, found the website of the North American Bear Centre on line, have learned more about bears on there than anywhere, in fact I found it so appealing I travelled from the UK just to visit the bear centre , you will not be disappointed! And of course they have the 3 resident Black Bears, Ted, Honey and Lucky, I urge anyone who wants to learn about bears to visit the Bear centre , will be going back again soon !

3 sk8bear

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have always been drawn to bears- not sure why but Smokey the Bear was my favorite story book as a young child. I had always heard how dangerous bears were but i loved them just the same. Then I found the NABC and started learning what bears were really about and saw and learned from Honey, Ted and Lucky firsthand how intelligent yet timid a bear could be. Watching the bears work with enrichment toys proved how smart and curious bears are. The staff and volunteers at NABC is one of the most dedicated group of workers I have ever had the pleasure to see in action and be a very small part of. I wish i lived close enough and was wealthy enough to help them more than i can right now. For now I can do my online volunteering and spread the word about this wonderful organization and to teach others what they have taught me- some of it taught by the people of the NABC and some taught by the bears.

3 Elaine V.

Donor

Rating: 5

The North American Bear Center is a wonderful place. I've spent hours there watching videos of the wild bears living their lives. The exhibits are beautifully done and very informative. Love the one that shows all the different kinds of seeds found in a bear's scat. When you want to take a break from the exhibits you can spend time looking at the beautiful pond, maybe one of the resident bears will come by. The NABC does so much to educate people about black bears.

3 Leslie46

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The NABC is a great nonprofit. I am a teacher in CA and thanks to Dr. Rogers, Sue Mansfield and all at the NABC our class has followed the collared black bears for 2 years. NABC gives my "city" students the opportunity to step inside the Northwoods of MN and enjoy their science lessons following the black bears.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Excellent informative displays and videos from bears living in the wild. Highly educational facility. Staff very helpful and engaging. Live den cams are a must to see and experience. I didn't realize that hibernating bears do not sleep the whole time as we were told. Mother bears actually take care of their cubs many hours a day, in between taking naps.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for the NABC for 2.5 years and have visited the Center on two occasions in the last three years. The reason I am so fond and supportive of the center is due to their sense of the need for research in the Minnesota northland and an equivalent need for a better understanding of the black bears we have come to know. I have found Dr. Lynn Rogers to be an ecological thinker and a guide to a modern environmental consciousness. All the staff at the center promote coexistence as well as cohesiveness in the world regardless of species. It is difficult to express in words the sense of knowlege as well as tranquility that the work of the center brings to those who visit and understand the work done. Additionally, those connected with the center stimulate an excitement about learning in visitors of all ages and locations in the world. There is such value that their work brings; a sense of fairness and ethics sorely needed our world today.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Excellent displays, information, video, current information on bears. Live bears help you learn behavior, interactions, and food preferences. The Center teaches with audio, visual, and sensory methods to accommodate our individual ways of learning and all ages. The wonderful children's room contains toys, pelts, books. microscopes, a children's den. Learn from the bear food garden outside the museum. Walk on trails to learn plants and get a feel of the north woods. Hoping to open next summer is an ecology addition that tells about other creatures and plants in the world of the bear. This addition will have an interactive learning center.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

This "charity" preys on the lonely and vulnerable by sharing cutesy bedtime stories in their nightly update. They are shameless in their solicitation of funds, even though the principal owns over $1,000,000 of land in the Ely area. They are masters of manipulation.

6 Mary161

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The North American Bear Center in Ely, MN is a state of the art educational setting to learn the truth about the American Black Bear. There are over 60 video displays, full size bear mounts, and three living black bears who call NABC home. Schools bring students to the Center for hands on learning. A world wide audience watches live cameras year round that show the three bears roaming their 2.5 acre enclosed forested area. Live cams in dens during hibernation show that bears definitely are not asleep all winter long. The NABC has become a destination place at "the end of the road" in Ely, MN. In 2014 the Hope Education Building will be opening, along with the Northwoods Exhibit of animals, plants, and the sounds of the north woods that the black bears would come in contact with in the wild.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer with the North American Bear Center in Ely, MN. Like many, I found them with the den cam placed in Lily the Black Bear's den in 2010. I used the den cam and the daily research Updates in a class of middle school students who did not enjoy anything to do with reading. We read about Hope each morning. Through that connection I made my first trip to Ely and met the staff of NABC and volunteered for the Educational Outreach Program. Teachers and educators from around the country developed curriculum, meeting Minnesota Graduation Standards, that can be taught by educators from preschool - high school levels. This year I was able to take part in the Bear Keeper course so had direct contact with the bears, staff, and most importantly, visitors from around the world who came to Ely to learn about the bears. I support the NABC and love to share what I have learned about black bears.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The NABC provides so many fun and educational ways to learn about bears. The web site and Center is filled with information about primarily black bears but also brown bears and polar bears. The website has a webcam and chat line focusing on the Center's three resident bears, Ted, Lucky and Honey. The bears have 2 1/2 wooded acres that can be observed from the deck at the Center. The Center is filled with videos, film, photography, print information, taxidermy of bears and a woodland trail. Opening soon is an Ecology exhibit.

6 Deborah P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The North American Bear Center provides so much information and research through their bear center and website, that I have learned so much about Black Bears that I would have never learned anywhere else. I was fortunate enough to have witnessed Jewel give birth to Fern and Herbie 2 years ago and it sparked my interest so much that I am now a volunteer.
Thank you,
Deborah J Macklin

5 Judy92

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A wonderful, educational organization which has taught thousands about the true nature of Black Bears.

4 Judy91

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I started watching the den cam when Jewel gave birth to Herbie and Fern. This web site has taught me so much about the Black Bear's behavior. There are so many myths out there about these beautiful animals. Dr. Rogers and his research staff are so full of information. I wish these cams had been around when I was in school. Thank you Dr. Rogers.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I have learned so much about the North American Black Bear because of this organization. education and entertainment and now I have a deep understanding and incredible love for this majestic and often misunderstood animals.

4 Margaret29

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I live in New Zealand, where there are no bears, and discovered the NABC through watching the live dencams. My interest in bears grew and I travelled to Ely to do a bear study course and visit the NABC, which certainly didn't disappoint !! Not only is it an excellent center for education (as a teacher I would love to be able to take children to there) but there are also 3 resident bears who just "do what bears do," and are absolutely fascinating to watch. Their natural habitat and freedom allows them to demonstrate the true nature of black bears and the respect with which the staff hold the bears is wonderful to see.
The NABC also has an authentic welcoming environment, which is not always a "given" in wildlife centers. The displays are amazing and a lot to take in (especially when there is bear activity outside) and the staff and volunteers are friendly, informed and are ready to answer all the questions about black bears (and other wildlife) that you can ask! Because I live so far away, I have also been very appreciative of their excellent mail order service from the shop...they just can't do enough to help!
I can't wait to go back to Ely, sometime in the future. And the NABC will be my first port of call when I do!! I look forward to seeing the new Hope Learning Center and other new additions... and of course, the bears!!!

Previous Stories
2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Rarely in adult life do you get opportunities to learn about and experience life in a way that enhances -indeed changes- your own view of the natural world. Having watched the wonderful work of Dr Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield from afar ( N.Z.) via the Internet, I was privileged last year to do their Bear-study course and while there, to visit the NABC. Nothing I can say in these few words will adequately describe how wonderful an experience it was. Professionally, these people, and those who work and volunteer at the NABC, are at the very top of their game, and I suspect this is due not only to their passion about bears, but also their passion about people and their desire to educate and dispel the myths - harmful to both ursine and human species- that have evolved over the centuries.
Add to this excellence a whole lot if fun and humour and you will start to get a picture of the NABC /WRI. I simply can't wait to go again!