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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

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...

Previous Stories
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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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.

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

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.

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

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!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first came across the NABC after watching My Family & Me on the BBC. As a result I started following the adventures of Ted E, Honey & Lucky on live cams & pond chat, which led me to volunteer as a den watcher. My first year was the winter Lucky & Ted shared a den, a fabulous introduction to the bears & their antics. Since then I have been privileged to share in the lives of these fabulous creature, even though I live in the UK. Like thousands of others I have learned about the true nature of bears from watching & recording the den cams, reading the updates and learning from the bear facts on the website & on Facebook. I am currently saving to come to Ely, to visit the NABC & see the beautiful Northwoods.

4 Allison K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love this charity and everyone involved in it. I have learnt so much about Black Bears, and other species, and the surrounding fauna. Schoolchildren go there on excursions and are warmly welcomed, and have alot of fun while learning. Being from the UK, this is my no 1 destination to visit.

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.

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

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!

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

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

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!