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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

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

Previous Stories
2

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.

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.

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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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. ..

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!

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.

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

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

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.

1 Dan N.

Donor

Rating: 1

A total waste of money. they never use the money as stated.

4

Donor

Rating: 1

For 3 solid years, they highly encouraged all the followers to donate to Nutsonlie for Ted Lucky and Honey! They gladly accepted our donations, but they failed to mention that all those donations went directly to the Wildlife Research Institute instead, for feeding the wild bears in the research areas. The curator and staff at the NABC at the time, had to buy nuts at the local feed store in town with their own money! Deception at it's finest!

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.

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 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 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.