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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

44 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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!

Previous Stories
2

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Previous Stories
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 !!

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.

Previous Stories
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.

Previous Stories
3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful place to learn the truth about black bears.

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.

Previous Stories
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.

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 .

Previous Stories
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

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.

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.

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.

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.