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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

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I like this website. It has lots of information about black bears. I was writing a report on bears for school and got lots of information at NABC. On the bear chat, the moderators really helped with any questions I had. They make sure everyone is nice to each other on the chat. Watching the bears is my favorite part. I love watching them run around the pond and seeing them in their dens in winter. Since I started getting on this website, I have gotten lots of information and learned many cool facts about bears I would never have know. They are really organized and have very accurate information. NABC has befriended the bears they have their. I am so happy I learned about this site.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a charity, you can be comfortable with how the money is spent. You are free to visit, or check on the cams or check their facebook & updates daily. They incorporate their city & community with classes for the youth & training for adults. Everyone is welcome. Any questions you may have about bears can be read with their education materials or ask a moderator in the chat room. I cannot think of a charity I feel this positive about the way the charity operates. Love the people & of course, the bears.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is the premier facility in the world to understand and lean about North American Bears, particularly Black Bears. From the rescued Black Bears in residence, to the reading, video, pictures, and childrens center, it is not only educational, but a very fun place to visit. You will learn so much and enjoy every moment.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The North American Bear Center is a top shelf organization and is very well run. I have been a volunteer for four years and I wouldn't trade it for anything I've ever done. The staff at the bear center is second to none and extremely easy to work with and add to that the displays, the many video monitors, and the beautifully well kept grounds and you have a recipe for 100% success. It's truly an honor to volunteer for such a fantastic organization.

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've never even seen a bear in the wild. As for most people, I was taught to fear them if I ran into one in the woods. I had no knowledge of their behavior and diet, so the only conclusion I'd logically come to was my becoming a shredded lump of flesh for their lunch or dinner feast. That was the OLD me, before I stumbled upon the world of the NABC and WRI.

Dr. Lynn Rogers and his assistant, biologist Sue Mansfield, possess the X-Factor that separates them from their peers. They are visionaries who have a tireless, unrelenting passion for and dedication to the bears which is impossible to ignore. We are sucked into the saga of the lives of these beings of the Northwoods. The den cams are priceless pieces of education and entertainment that yearly introduces us to the newest members of the clan. We can see the cubs development during the first critical stages of life, and how Momma Bear coaxes them away from the den for the last time to tackle the outside world. It's emotional, dramatic and bittersweet - the stuff of real life. But, most importantly for me, I will continue to follow the bears to learn from THEM how I can be a better human.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

The North Anmerican Bear Center is changing the world's view of black bears. Their passion and commitment to teaching how to co-exist through education is inspiring.

1 Princessthekitty

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been watching Ted, Honey and Lucky at the NABC via pond cam for four years, and have been reading the Researchers updates and following the den cams of the research bears in the wild since right before Lily gave birth to Hope. The education derived from the 3 bears at the Bear Center and the Research Bears in the wild was life changing. I learned how intellectual and timid and mild black bears are. Their child=rearing skills are phenomonal.
And I learned, through the 3 bears at the Center, the individual personalities and foraging habits of back bears. I was privileged to visit the NABC last year and was very impressed with all of the exhibits. And was able to get close to the bears on our photo shoot. What a great experience. The staff are so friendly and their educational talks were great. I also donate when I am able. I plan to go back to visit this Spring when the Hope Educational Center opens which will provide a great educational opportunity to students worldwide on the life of black bears.

Previous Stories
8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have followed the NABC and WRI since Jan 2011, watching the den cam hen Hope was born. Dr. Rogers and Sue Mansfield have and are doing a great job researching the lives of Shadow's clan and educating us on the truths about black bears and dismissing the myths. Their research is known worldwide and highly respected. I plan to visit Ely in July and visit the NABC. I have learned so much from this research. Both the NABC and WRI are doing a great job educating about black bears.

1 Maureen K.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Plan to spend at least two days at the North American Bear Center in Ely, MN. The Staff and Volunteers are happy to assist you. Stay for the presentations. Meander around at your own pace. Everything you ever wanted to know about Black Bears is available on site. Books, videos, exhibits. For Adults and Children alike. Bring the whole family. And the most amazing experience of all.... observing live Black Bears in their habitat. If you aren't familiar with Ted, Honey and Lucky, go to the Facebook Page: Lily the Black Bear. You're in for a surprise, a treat. The North American Bear Center was created by Dr. Lynn Rogers, world-renowned Biologist and wild Black Bear researcher, who also specializes in field study of these amazing, beautiful creatures. Come to Ely, MN. Visit NABC. You won't forget it.

Previous Stories
2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Several years ago, through the technology of web cams, a website and a Facebook Page, more than a 100,000 people (and growing), worldwide, were introduced to the habitat and behaviors of Black Bears. Beyond the inaccurate media hype of terror and aggression, Dr. Lynn Rogers showed us a new reality of life in the Northwoods with these mostly gentle creatures. Through videos made by the BBC, we learned more about Black Bear families and how to co-exist with them. Education is the key. The North American Black Bear Center provides "Education Boxes" to Teachers for a nominal rental fee. The contents bring information about Black Bears right into the classroom. If you can make the trip to Ely, visit the NABC. It is similar to a Natural History Museum dedicated to these animals. Meet Ted E. Bear, Honey and Lucky, the outdoor Black Bears that live on protected ground year round. Visit the web cams on the Wildlife Research Institute website to see Lily and her two cubs born last month. Check out Jewel and her two yearlings, Herbie and Fern. And there's always the Pond Bears that live on the premises. I have learned more about Black Bears from Dr. Rogers than I have from any TV program or books. The reason behind that is Dr. Rogers, via cams and his ongoing research, let's the Bears teach us themselves. What a wonderful experience!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can not even begin to tell you how the NABC has changed the views of many people regarding the Black Bear. What a wonderful Center to visit. So much information and well presented. The area for the kids is wonderful. The new addition of the Hope Learning Center will be such an asset to the town of Ely, the State of Minnesota and the world.

So many visitors to the center from all over the World. I commend the staff for a great job in presenting the North American Black Bear. What a beautiful animal, misunderstood by many, but with the NABC, we are all learning the truth about these beautiful animals.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We as a family have visited the NABC twice....both visits were wonderful The exhibits are very educational and interesting. The theatre area for viewing the resident bears is wonderful, and the theatre area for viewing the 'BearWalker' video is superb. We enjoyed the outdoor viewing area for the bears. My family is certainly looking forward to future visits to see the progress on the new educational wing that is currently being built. The children's room is awesome...a wonderful area for young children to learn about the American Black Bear and various wildlife from the area. The various video stations showing actual bear behavior in the wild are such a great visual tool.
A special treat was the time we actually got to meet Dr. Lynn Rogers while at the NABC...thanks to him and his unique approach to studying the bears the world can learn to appreciate and co-exist with these beautiful creatures.

2 bakerykris

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This research of black bears has taught me and my family how to co-exist with black bears. The importance of understanding these beautiful animals and the continuing education will only benefit both bear and humans. Learning about the lives of black bears has brought better knowledge to the world and shows the importance of black bears existence and much needed protection. These research bears have changed many minds of their reputation from negative to being positive thoughts.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The North American Bear Center (NABC) is a top notch non-profit organization whose passion for what they do shines through in the outstanding quality of their work. The NABC has educated people across the world about the true behaviors of black bears & has helped to dispel many myths about this misunderstood animal. The NABC has also teamed up with teachers to develop a fabulous educational outreach program to take the things taught at the NABC into school classrooms. The materials include a curriculum map, lesson plans, interdisciplinary ideas, as well as black bear boxes to provide a “hands on” experience for the students. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to volunteer for this organization for the past several years, as every time I am there it is an enriching experience in which I learn something new!

2 Jacki T.

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization conducts research and education on the real lives of black bears. This is done in a unique way through observation and a mutual respect. By having live den cams, the public has witnessed live births, nurturing, and family development not previously known. The den cams are used in many elementary schools as part of a black bear educational plan. NABC has dispelled the belief that black bears are aggressive and to be feared. NABC is also a valuable member of the Minnesota and Ely communities bringing in tourist dollars and support.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

2 Kimberly55

Donor

Rating: 5

A valuable educator and teacher about the ecology of Minnesota and the black bear. Donors have formed a community that supports one another, as well as, the North American Bear Center.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Since I found this organization about 5 years ago I found it very valuable educational
and enjoyable on so many levels. Learning about black bear behaviors
And their lives in General has helped me learn the true nature about
these beautiful animals and lessen my fears about them. The researchers
are wonderful and compassionate. I have since become a volunteer and feel
a part of this non-profit organization and it's fun too. I feel it truly deserves
a high status as a great non-profit

4 Clarebear

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Living as a transport from the city to bear country of PA, we were petrified when we met our new neighbors .... bears! After many nuisance phone calls to our local game commission with complaints, we researched and found www.bear.org. We have learned so much about bears, their demeanor, meanings of their actions, their habitat, vocalizations, and much much more. The den cams were the most educational tool afforded to the public to view in real time. World wide viewing of the den cams is an amazing resource to learn about black bears, and the North American Bear Center is responsible for this wonderful education and opportunity for us to get to know our neighbors. We now co-exist in the beautiful bear country mountains of PA, and look forward to my third visit to Ely, MN. Thank you to the NABC for the continued education of black bears, and sharing your research studies and the den cams with us all.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Not a very good experience. The bears are in cages most of the time.

The staff were not helpful at all. Displays look dated.

I read the number one reason for the death of bears is murder, ie hunting! The way it was worded was incorrect in my opinion. Correct me if I am wrong but isn't a non-profit meant to be neutral and not be for or against ?

3 Janet79

Donor

Rating: 5

The North American Bear Center and it's sister organization, The Wildlife Research Institute, are leaders in educating the public about all bears, and in particular the North American Black Bear that live around the Bear Center's headquarters in Ely, Minnesota. NABC/WRI have used cameras in hibernating bear's dens to broadcast live births over the internet. These "den cams" have reached hundreds of thousand of viewers world wide and have been broadcast to numerous classrooms throughout the United States. School children learn about black bears through packets that that the NABC provides to their teachers.
Additionally, the NABC uses Facebook to update the public daily on the activities of the bear's in it's research study. These particular research bears have GPS collars and are followed by Dr. Lynn Rogers or his associate biologist Sue Mansfield. The researchers have earned the bears' trust through non-aggressive means and they can walk with the bears to study them. They change the batteries in the bears' collars by simply offering a handful of nuts and gentle words. Many hours are spent learning about bear behavior and building a repetoire with individual bears. Not all bears will allow the researchers to walk with them, even though they may have known them since birth. It depends on bear personalities, just like humans!
The NABC and WRI websites have tons of information available to the public about all species of bears and can answer almost every question you can think of from what bears like to eat, to what they really do all winter long in their dens. The NABC has a unique center that the public can tour and see exhibits and three beautiful bears that live on-site. Ted, Honey, and Lucky will steal your heart with their antics.
This is such a great non-profit organization and I recommend you make a donation to the North American Bear Center.

3 Linda228

Donor

Rating: 5

The North American Bear Center is a wonderful nonprofit organization and deserves to be recognized for their truthful knowledge about black bears. They use this knowledge to teach people all over the world about the black bears.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

The knowledge shared by the NABC is very important. Black bears have been misunderstood for a long time, and many have met tragic deaths due to this. This is a unique educational organization with a wealth of facts to spread worldwide. Its use of technology (live streaming video and live chat for instance) is effective in reaching people of all ages and countries. There is so much passion and dedication demonstrated daily by the volunteers and regular staff. Actually watching bears go about being bears on a daily basis is amazing.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The North American Bear Center (NABC) is an exceptional nonprofit organization! The organization provides accurate and very educational information about black bears and other wildlife not only at the NABC site in Ely but also through schools and social media. They have an exceptionally well-organized volunteer organization that provides a variety of volunteer opportunities - you can help out any way you want, for any amount of time, and from any location in the world and you can be assured that you will be working with other volunteers who are very enthusiastic and extremely well-informed. I can't say enough about this organization!

2 Laurie6241

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The NABC offers excellent educational facts about not only the Black Bear but other bear species as well. The numerous constantly playing video clips of the various aspects of bear behavior have opened my perception of what bears really do - and that they actually like to play and are intriguing to watch! The three resident bears - Honey, Ted and Lucky - are in a very natural and wild environment. When the staff interact with them for the bear enrichment, it's done in a way that the bears are not 'showing off' as if in a circus, but to show how they would react to the item if found in the wild. There is SO much information offered that I find I learn something new each time I'm there, and there are constant upgrades/improvements each time as well. I see they now have a 'pet relief' area which is a nice amenity when traveling with pets, and the Hope Learning Center will be completed soon with more exhibits and state of the art learning tools - very anxious to see it all put together!!! I am a member, will continue to give my support because I believe there is still a lot we don't know about bears and the NABC provides that newly found information. I encourage friends and family to check it out!

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am one of the North American Bear Center's biggest fans. They have so many beautiful, educational exhibits there. They have a children's room where the kids can learn so much about bears. Lynn Roger's research is so very important to teach the world to co exist with black bears. I highly recommend to anyone to make a visit there....Well worth the trip!!!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and i have spent over 35 years canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. While we have both desired and feared an opportunity to see a black bear in the wild we have yet to come across one.

We happened to be in Ely during the opening of the NABC. The information available then challenged all our beliefs(fears) about black bears. The Center has grown incredibly and now, with the den cams, the many videos, the expanded displays and the huge amount of research-backed educational information available to anyone who walks thru the doors our desire to be able to observe a black bear - preferably a mother with cubs - in the wild has increased!

In the meantime, our frequent visits to Ely include stops at the NABC to visit and learn more from the friendly staff and the volunteer Bear Educators. We don't miss a chance to watch, learn and smile at the antics and behaviors of Ted, Lucky and Honey. These bears seem to become more entertaining each visit.

Dr. Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield have provided the world with such a large and growing base of information . The not-yet-completed Hope Education Center will be a fantastic place for educators and learners alike. i can hardly wait to see it filled with groups of curious children and adults!

Previous Stories
14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The amount of bear related education at the NABC is amazing! All my life i had been under the misconceptions that many people learned about black bears. I had always been afraid. Now based on the scientific research available at the NABC and online thru the website, i would like nothing better than to have a bear wander through my yard or campsite. The information is myth-busting! Black bear behavior has been misunderstood for so long. They are not the vicious, aggressive creatures portrayed on sports magazines. That concept arises from long-held fears, not from documented facts. The bear center is a wonderful place with a growing education outreach program!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have known of Lynn Roger's work over the past 30 years. I have always been curious of more respectful techniques of approaching the study of animals. As a Montessori teacher, our greatest gift as a guide to the children we work with is observation from knowledgeable principals and honest assessment, even when the children prove us off course in our understanding. I have watched and read his body of work over these years and have learned so much about the behavior of the NA Black Bear and the growth of his respectful approach through observation and walking with the bear community...peaceful coexistance.
The work of Sue Mansfield and the NABC continue to reveal the true behavior of this magnificent animal we live so closely with here in Minnesota.

As a teacher it opened up the eyes and hearts of the children/students I work with from preschool to Jr. High. The 5 & 6 year olds followed the den cam over the years writing stories and illustrating pictures of the bear family. They eventually wrote a play called, "Little bear takes a walk" from a 1970's story book. It was complete with Dr. Rogers calling out, "It's me bear" and much more about the life in a MN woodland. The upper elementary children worked cross level with the "bear box" exploring the videos, reading the books, writing from their own experience and discovering new research and truths. One of the greatest gifts of the NABC work is how children can practice the scientific method by choosing a topic, observing the behavior, document their observation, discuss and come to conclusions. Our whole school community participates in activities and residencies at our Land School. We have corridors that bear pass through at the LS and are developing a program of education with the help of the NABC/WRI and its amazing body of research and observations. It is not only informative but playful and enjoyable for the children to study.

Our goal is that of Lynn's...peaceful co-existence here in MN and elsewhere with the North American Black Bear beginning with education. We would have never gone so far without the NABC and Lynn/Sue's work. This is an amazing organization.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I teach in the Green Bay Area Public School District and I use the Den cams as a teaching tool for students. The students absolutely love the NABC and WRI websites. There is an unbelievable amount of resources available that are fun ways to learn for students. Recently I had the opportunity to bring a couple of students to North American Bear Center. The staff there is phenomenal and the center has great exhibits. The students learned the truth about bears and about the fabulous research that is being done. I wish that every student had the opportunity to experience this wonderful place that is in Ely!

3 signcutter

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for the North American Bear Center for about two years now. I first learned about the research of Dr. Rogers long before there was an internet or den cams! I read some of his research on bears when I was in college studying wildlife management. I was impressed with his study methods, which were so different than those used by other scientists. And, he was getting results! His methods worked better than the old tranquilize, test, and release methods, in my opinion. Plus, it was much less stressful on the animal. I have followed his research since then.
When the den cams became popular, I was able to share them with my students, who loved watching wild bears raising their young. The den cams were a hit with kids.

I think that the staff at NABC are some of the most dedicated, hard-working researchers I know. If I did not agree with their study methods, I would not be a volunteer. However, I love volunteering here and I support the research completely. I started volunteering by making a set of playing cards for the Black Bear Boxes, which are educational boxes that schools can borrow for their classrooms. I then joined as a volunteer both for the Speakers' Bureau and the Bear Facts and Fun Games group online. I write a weekly educational (and fun) short piece on bears, which is posted on the Facebook page of Lily the Black Bear.

I thoroughly enjoy volunteering for the NABC. They have a large group of very dedicated volunteers worldwide. This is an absolutely amazing and fine group to be a part of. I plan to continue volunteering for them for a long time to come.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The American Bear Center quite literally saved my sanity. Having booked a holiday from Britain to spend a month with my father, a resident of Ely, he sadly died before I arrived. Donna Rogers and the staff at the center offered me the chance to work with them for the month. For my grief stricken step-mother and I, it became a sanctuary to which I ran too every morning. I will be eternally grateful for their kindness and the extraordinary experience very few people from England ever get the chance to have. I tell everyone at the High school I work at, at any opportunity, all about the brilliant work that goes on and my office has become a shrine to three of the most beautiful creatures that I have ever had the fortune to share my time with. I am very proud of my bear educator certificate and will treasure it always. I hope to return as soon as I can to carry on as a volunteer.

2 Tracy52

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a den watcher for a year and wanted to make the trip to Minnasota. Just to see the North American Bear Center. So I did sure glad I made the trip learned so much about the studies and how important they are. Already planning another trip can't wait well worth it.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have never been involved with a group of people more dedicated to a cause than those that work for and with the North American Bear Center. The researchers, curators, educators and service staff are amazingly devoted to their work and to educating the general public about the American Black Bear and its place in our environment. So often we forget that we humans are the ones who continue to infringe on the habitat of all species of wildlife - and it is so rare to find an organization with no motivation other than to help us all learn how to respect our environment and all of the creatures that share it. As stated on the Center's website (www.bear.org), "The mission of the non-profit North American Bear Center is to advance the long-term survival of bears worldwide by replacing misconceptions with scientific facts about bears, their role in ecosystems, and their relations with humans." It is fascinating work and I am honored to learn from those who do it and support them with my contributions.

3 mbear

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a proud supporter of the NABC/WRI and have been a volunteer for the NABC/WRI since 2010. I have learned so much about black bears and continue to learn something every day. Thank you Dr. Rogers and Sue Mansfield! My fear has changed to respect - I marvel at the interaction between bears that I have observed and learned from.

Previous Stories
14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at the NABC since early 2010 and have found it to be a remarkable experience. I have learned a tremendous amount about black bears and people. I am amazed at the energy and evolving educational aims/goals of the NABC and the dedication and hard work of the researchers, staff and volunteers to achieve these goals.

4 Michele C

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer,and a proud supporter of the North American Bear Center,the researchers,the staff,and of course the resident bears Ted,Lucky,and Honey. I have learned so much about black bears,especially replacing misconceptions with scientific facts about bears, their role in ecosystems, and their relations with humans. I lean something new everyday thanks to Dr. Lynn Rogers,and Sue Mansfield. I'll be in Ely this July for the 4th annual Lily picnic and to see the new "Hope Learning Center".

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The North American Bear Center has taught me so much about black bears! I TRULYleaned all the misconceptions and. I want to learn more about this fasinating creature!

5 Becky38

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The NABC have helped me become aware of the importance of co-existing with bears. And also the myth that they are furocious animals. I support them 100% and thank them for the knowledge they have shared.