During my four decades of scientific research, I came to realize how many misconceptions exist about black bears. Now, a team of educators is working with the North American Bear Center to replace those misconceptions with current scientific information. Together, we are developing curriculum that meets state and Common Core Standards and are working to provide that curriculum to schools, homes, summer camps, and anyone who wants to learn worldwide. This science-based curriculum differs greatly from the usual sensationalized hype we have all heard for so long. I feel deep respect and gratitude toward these educators who are helping both people and bears in this way.
Lynn Rogers, Ph.D.
Chair, North American Bear Center, www.bear.org
Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute, www.bearstudy.org
The Education Outreach Program was born in the den of a wild black bear near Ely, Minnesota. The bear, Lily, is part of the Wildlife Research Institute’s long-term study of black bear behavior and ecology. When researchers placed a webcam in her den on January 8, 2010, she immediately became a worldwide internet sensation. On January 22, tens of thousands watched as she gave birth to a 12-ounce cub named Hope. Soon, hundreds of thousands, including hundreds of classrooms, were following her life and the lives of her offspring through den cams, video, and daily research updates on bear.org. That interest led talented educators to develop curriculum for distribution through the Educational Outreach Program. Replacing misconceptions with scientific facts helps people and bears to better co-exist.