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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

65 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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 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

5

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.

3 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 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!

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.

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

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.

Previous Stories
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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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.

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.

Previous Stories
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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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.

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 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.

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.