Bear Educator Volunteer (Applications due March 11, 2020)

Organization: North American Bear Center (NABC)

Location: 1926 Highway 169, Ely MN 55731

Reports to: Senior Bear Keeper and Director of Education

Number of Positions: 10

Time Commitment: 80 hours total for the entire season

Length of Appointment: May 1 to Oct. 27, 2020. A one season commitment.

Position Summary: Educate NABC visitors about the four ambassador bears (via on-site programs and Q&A) and wild black bear behavior (via videos, exhibits, and Q&A). Speak to groups of visitors and respond to questions. This position will be responsible for all aspects of bear care including maintaining a clean bear enclosure, bear foraging feedings, bear enrichment activities, and food preparation. Assist visitors in the Northwoods Ecology Hall by handling the animals for visitors to see and hold. Point out the touch- screens for additional animal information.

Expectations for all NABC On-Site Volunteers:

  1. Represent the NABC/WRI in a positive manner with members, donors, visitors, vendors, and the communities we serve.
  2. Interact effectively with a diverse group of staff, interns, volunteers, and visitors.
  3. Uphold the Mission Statement of the North American Bear Center.
  4. Handle confidential information with tact and discretion.
  5. Dress appropriately for your position, including wearing NABC identification.
  6. Follow all safety rules and guidelines during your time volunteering.
  7. Maintain up-to-date knowledge on resident bears and wild bear behavior.
  8. Submit Emergency Contact information and sign Waiver of Responsibility.

Specific Bear Educator Duties:

  1. Learn all the information at the NABC and and
  2. Answer visitor questions, and manage bear behavior during tours with food.
  3. May give talks to visitors via Behind the Scene tours, podcasts or Q&A sessions.
  4. Feed the bears and assist with all aspects of bear care.
  5. Maintain food supplies and the preparation of bear food.
  6. Assist in maintaining established bear feeding schedule.
  7. Document diets for the bears.
  8. Follow established bear food distribution guidelines to increase both bear activity/exercise and bear interaction within the habitat.
  9. Maintain the bear enclosure habitat, fencing, and supporting areas for proper year-round care of the bears.
  10. Assist in maintaining the cleanliness and ease-of-access of the exhibit halls.
  11. Handle local frogs, turtles and non-poisonous snakes for visitors to view close up.
  12. May give talks on the various “critters” located in the Northwood’s Ecology Hall.

Training: Initial training will be done on a one-on-one basis with the Senior Bear Keeper and Dir. of Education. Information will be sent to you prior to your arrival so you can learn both on-line and via our handbooks. This training is required of all new Bear Educators and will be counted as eight hours toward the fulfillment of 80 hours. You will receive performance feedback when volunteering. This is to ensure the safety of you and the bears. Constructive feedback will also assist the NABC in providing a consistent visitor experience thru out the season.

Support: Training will be provided on an on-going basis by the staff at the NABC. Retention as an active volunteer Bear Educator will be reviewed at the end of each calendar year or sooner, if necessary.


Personal Traits:

  • At least 21 years of age.
  • Fluent in English language.
  • Desire to educate the public about black bears.
  • Calm and positive demeanor.
  • Good observation, judgment and problem-solving skills.
  • Reliable and highly motivated.
  • Comfortable interacting with diverse groups of people.
  • Work in a team environment.


  • Successful completion of a training session.
  • Familiarity with the information on and
  • Teaching or public speaking background helpful.
  • Learn the exhibit layout and information contained in the NABC exhibits.


  • Work under supervision.
  • Stand for 4 hours, lift 30 pounds, and walk quickly over uneven ground.
  • Operate small, powered equipment safely.
  • Respond quickly and accurately to any unforeseen action of the bears without impairment from a medical condition; physical limitation; or over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications.