Sue Mansfield began studying black bears in her home state of New Hampshire in 1999. Her initial studies involved documenting bear sign, including bear trails, marking sign, and feeding sign. She developed a collection of seeds from berries to identify items found in bear scat while studying the diet of bears. Sue placed trail monitors along bear trails to determine usage and aimed trail cameras at marking trees along bear trails to document behaviors.
She met Lynn Rogers during his lecture tour of New England in the fall of 2000, and volunteered to become the webmaster for the North American Bear Center. With technical and graphic design help from her son and daughter-in-law, Eric and Barbara vanBok, the new site went online in March 2001 and has been updated several times since.
Beginning in late summer 2001, Sue began volunteering at the Wildlife Research Institute for several weeks each summer. In the fall of 2002 she formalized her studies by enrolling in the Environmental Studies master's degree program at Antioch University New England with a concentration in Conservation Biology. Since the summer of 2004 she has been doing field research through the Wildlife Research Institute under the direction of Lynn Rogers, Ph.D. and currently co-teaches the Black Bear Field Study Course.
Research work has entailed radio-tracking to determine territories and track movements, recording weights of bears coming to the field station, and walking with bears for up to 14 hours at a time to collect detailed information on behaviors and food choices. While walking with bears, she recorded data with a handheld computer running CyberTracker software and a video camera. Her video footage of intimate bear behavior has been featured in the BBC''s 'Bearwalker of the Northwoods' and 'The Bear Family and Me.'
Sue is also an accomplished tracker, having tracked on her own since 1986 and apprenticed with master tracker Paul Rezendes for 2 years. She is a contributor to the book "Mammal Tracks and Sign: A Guide to North American Species." The natural history notes she and her husband collected on their observations of animal sign in New Hampshire were instrumental in preserving a wildlife corridor from development. Her documentation of bears feeding in a rare white oak stand helped preserve the land for future generations of bears by delaying the county's plans to build a jail. The land was then bought by concerned citizens and later donated to Antioch University for educational use.
Mansfield, S. A. 2007. Effects of supplemental food on weights and reproductive success of black bears in northeastern Minnesota. Unpublished master’s thesis. Antioch University New England, Keene, New Hampshire. 49pp. plus Appendix.