"I would have to say that to experience these magnificent creatures in nature is a once in a lifetime learning adventure. You’ll come to understand that black bears and human beings can coexist in our ever-expanding world. How could you not want to experience the cuteness of cubs and the exhilaration of male and female black bears. That’s what I would say."
Randy - Wisconsin 2021
"My husband and I so enjoyed the Bear Study Course. It was wonderful to see the bears and so inspiring to listen to Dr. Lynn Rogers. Our time with the bears confirmed our positive beliefs and increased our desire to work towards a better future for these beautiful animals."
Marianna - Georgia 2021
"Hanging out with wild bears is about the best way I can think of to nourish a connection with other beings on our planet. Their world is open to us to watch and learn. They care for their families, occasionally grumble at one another, play in the water, and even share a tray of peanuts from time to time. We are there to watch and learn, and they don’t seem to mind our presence. Our only task going forward is to ensure their right to be."
Neala - Minnesota 2021
"I had the privilege of attending the Black Bear Field Course presented by Dr. Lynn Rogers in July of 2021. It has been a dream of mine for many years as I follow the WRI and NABC sites.
I truly respect Dr. Rogers' desire to study and teach people about the black bear. Listening to him share adventures about the Shadow Clan was remarkable. The bears' interactions, eating habits, and personalities were thrilling to watch in person.
Dr. Rogers and his associates spent many hours with our class revealing to us a wealth of knowledge and experiences as they continue to study the black bears. Thanks to them for a truly memorable black bear experience."
Lynn - Iowa 2021
"It is a transformative experience in a very busy world to sit among bears young and old and learn about their lives. The staff and volunteers share their vast accumulated knowledge and years of stories, and you go home with some new stories of your own. It's one of the best learning and living experiences I've known, and I try to return as often as possible."
Rachel - Oregon 2021
"My Black Bear adventure helped shape my future. As a high school student, I am constantly thinking about what I want to study in college and I love nature. Therefore I wanted to visit.
Dr. Rogers taught me how to take a bear's heart rate, a hands-on experience with " One Eye Jack". Jack also let me stroke his fur and his gentle face. I learned how important the White Pine is to the life of a Black Bear. "Fred" sat beside me for a long time and ate hazel nuts from my hands. I learned that 90% of a bear's diet is plant based. I saw two bear dens. A new cub, with his mom and sibling ate from my hand for the first time. "Wow", just wow!!!! Dr. Rogers has so much knowledge to share. My unique experience has touched me in such a way, I plan on pursuing a degree in Wildlife or Animal Science. Thank you Bears."
Kennedy - Georgia 2021
"I was so happy the whole time I was visiting the bears. It was great to leave the suburbs behind and let the peaceful forest take over. There is just something magical about bears.The strong muscular body, the thick magnificent black fur and the gentle eyes always draw me in and warm my heart. It is so peaceful at the research cabin and filled with kindness. Kindness is everywhere around you from all the people there, the staff and the other participants but mostly from the bears. The bears taught me to let go of the past and move on, to respect one another, to appreciate what you have and never forget how important it is to be kind."
Kristie - Georgia 2021
"All my life, I just wanted to see a black bear in its natural surroundings. When I got to the Wildlife Research Institute, my goal was met within 5 minutes. It was such a thrilling learning experience - soaking in the rich knowledge and extensive experience in the informative learning sessions, and then deepening the learning in real life with the visiting bears. Finishing the course at the incredible North American Bear Center enriched and completed the experience. I feel much more confident as an advocate and informal educator for black bears now. I can't wait to do it again!"
Rachel - Oregon 2020
"I love animals! Especially bears! I finally got the opportunity by coming to the WRI for my 50 birthday.
I was fortunate enough for a number of years to observe Alaskan brown bears at a distance while working in the Alaskan salmon industry, but to get the opportunity to get up close and personal with wild black bears was a dream come true.
In the first 10 minutes on the property, I was able to feed Ursula! I will never forget that beautiful face of hers! Throughout my time spent there I took many pictures, but I don’t need to look at them as the images are permanently etched in mind.
It was hard to go to bed at night. Kind of like a kid at Christmas waiting for Santa—I didn’t want to miss any of the bear visits. Or like kids on Christmas morning—jumping out of bed at the crack of dawn to rush down the stairs to what treasures await to see eating on the deck.
I will never forget the feel of their lips and tongue on my hand when feeding the bears hazelnuts. I will also never forget having lunch outside with Pete, Bunny, Bramble, or Lucy on the picnic table. It was like they were part of the group—I guess they really were part of the bear course—no, vital to the bear course.
I minored in biology in college so I particularly enjoyed the educational talks by Dr. Rogers—learning something new; getting to hear some of his talks from all his years of research was enlightening.
I hope someday to observe closely polar bears in the wild, as they are my first love in the animal kingdom, and to be able to come back to the WRI for another round of courses. I participated in the first course of the season—seeing all the males come around post-mating season—would like to come back next time a little later to see mamas and her cubs.
My husband and I are already making future plans to live seasonally in the Northern Minnesota area so we can experience the wilderness of the area and possibly help dispel the bum rap that bears get from uneducated people.
I also spoke to Dr. Rogers regarding being the cook for the bear courses when JC is ready to retire. I would be there I a flash!!
To say that this experience was memorable is an understatement!"
Andrea - Iowa 2020
"Life Time Experience! No where will you get a more wonderful experience. Seeing wild bears in their natural habitat, watching bears interact with each other and seeing mom with their cubs. In addition, we learn from Dr Lynn Rogers, founder of the Wildlife Research Institute with 50 years of bear and wildlife research experience. The courses are held in the beautiful Minnesota Northwoods. This was my 6th Bear Study Course and I look forward to more courses."
Diane - Kansas 2020
Wildlife Research Institute
145 West Conan Street
Ely, Minnesota 55731 USA