"My experience at the Black Bear Field Courses were both excellent. The courses were very educational and I learned a lot, not only about bears, but about nature in general; including other animals, animal habitat, plants, and trees.

"I was most impressed with the professionalism and knowledge of both Dr. Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield. Not only are they sharing their knowledge of black bears with others; they genuinely care about the bears and the other animals that inhabit Northern Minnesota.

"I have traveled extensively, but I consider my experiences at the Wildlife Research Institute (WRI) and the Black Bear Field Courses trips of a lifetime. I look forward to returning to the WRI and attending another Black Bear Field Course!!"
Flo L. – Michigan 2012 and 2013

"I am an avid amateur wildlife photographer with a special preference for photographing bears of all kinds. This love of bears has taken me to Alaska, British Columbia (in pursuit of the White Spirit Bear), Glacier NP and my very favorite, Yellowstone NP—which I visit on a frequent basis. Over the years, I have watched and observed bears, read almost everything ever written about them, and watched every documentary that was on television. I felt I had a decent knowledge of black bears. Then, in May 2013, I attended my first Black Bear Field Study course and it was one of the highlights of my 67 years of life. I have been a volunteer den watcher and recorder for WRI for three years, watching and recording the sounds and movements made by the mom’s and cubs in their dens. After staring at a computer screen for many hours during those three years, I wanted to see and hear the bears in real life. I wanted to see in person how Doc and Sue spend their days in the woods with these bears and learn firsthand what their research consisted of. I wanted to see the dens and the setup of the den cams that I spent so many hours looking through. Well, I got to do all that and much more—including crawling into two empty dens!

"At every meal, we got to sit with Doc and Sue and ask questions, discuss what the day’s activity would be, hear stories about the research bears and learn all about what brought Doc and Sue to where they are today. We sat like spellbound children at story time, listening to Doc tell us amazing things he has learned about black bears during his 45 plus years of bear research. Then off we would go into the snowy woods to locate a bear via telemetry signal.

"The researcher’s mission varied from trip to trip. They have the never ending task of changing GPS units or batteries on the research collars, swapping collars, or just to check on cubs to see if they were doing well. I can’t describe the lump I felt in my throat when we would get close to a bear’s signal and Doc would softly say, “It’s me bear” and then see a dark spot appear in the distance in the dense woods, which moved toward us very slowly and hesitantly. Doc would whisper again, “It’s me bear” and the dark spot moved in closer and then into view. I was emotionally touched to see the trust that these bears have for Doc and Sue.

"Going into the course, I had been around black bears enough to not fear them, but there were some participants that did have some apprehension beforehand. That apprehension melted away our first trip into the woods. The course was so much fun and since everyone in the group had the same thing in common, there was a kind of kinship and an immediate bonding of the participants. The end of the course came way to soon and it was emotionally tough to leave Doc, Sue, Sharon (who makes the best meals ever), the bears, Woods Lake, the Bear Center and Ely. I feel like I left a piece of my heart there but came away with so much more than I went with. I have shared my experience and new information that I obtained from the course with my neighbors here in New Jersey. I hope the information I shared with them will help them to not fear black bears and realize that they can co-exist with the growing population of bears in our state. I highly recommend this course for those who are fascinated with bears as well as those who may be fearful of them."
Sandy R – New Jersey 2013

"Since I have returned from the course, I find my self in 'education mode' in regards to Black Bears. This was, by far, one of the most enjoyable vacations I have ever had. How much joy and peace an extremely large animal can bring to people is beyond me. To be able to learn in such an environment was truly an extraordinary experience. It is one I will never forget. I joined this course alone, and did not know any of the other participants. Although I was a little nervous at first, all fears were quelled when within the first 1/2 hour we were all bonded by the first bear meeting. There we were, all adults, as mesmerized and awed as children. It was battery changing week, so I had the honor of meeting quite a few bears, as well as cubs. The hikes were beautiful, and informative. We learned about bear behavior and bear sign. With the lively discussions and education opportunities over our delicious home cooked meals. I am hoping to return soon. Thanks Doc and Sue!"
Ellen L – Vermont 2012

"My experience was by far the most informative experience on Black Bear I have ever had.  What I learned from everyone involved I will take with me forever. I would like to come back again every year because there is so very much to take in.  Thank you for a valuable education on American Black Bear."
Lori S – Georgia 2013

"We first met Sue and Lynn in 2007 and at the time we felt this was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to learn about black bears from world-renowned experts. Well, it has now turned out to be a three times in a lifetime opportunity as we returned for courses in 2008 and 2012. In our first class we were fortunate to observe June with her litter of 3 cubs that included Lily that year. We were also very fortunate to be in the class that first met Lucky as a little cub on his first day at NABC. These courses have provided us with a greater understanding of the behavior of black bears in the wild and—being scientists ourselves—an appreciation of the research that is ongoing at the WRI. The courses are an opportunity to meet and interact with others who also share an interest in black bear research. One thing that has greatly improved the courses is the use of GPS equipment compared to using just radio telemetry, which was all Lynn, had back in the courses we took in 2007 and 2008."
Irma and Bill F – Delaware 2012

"I first became aware of the bears in this study with the advent of the Lily den cam just before Hope was born. A friend of mine in North Carolina and I began to be loyal web-watchers. We followed every move. I was hooked. As soon as I was available I registered for the Bear Study Course to find that I was hopelessly backlogged! In early 2013 I received an e-mail about an opening and I immediately called my cohort and said, "we're going to bear camp, let's pick a date". And so it became a reality.

"I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, where my Grandmother lived on property by a lake. She had a bearskin rug in her cabin. She had shot that bear. That was my early view of bears and danger. It was a reality of the times.

"My trip to Ely was a total contradiction of my upbringing, but a fulfillment of my experience with the webcams."
Susan D. – Pennsylvania 2013

"It is difficult to put into words how much I benefited from attending the Black Bear Field course. The course is a wonderful opportunity to learn from two brilliant and passionate biologists. The love that Sue and Lynn have for the bears is evident in every aspect of the course. I feel privileged to have been able to attend the course.

"There is nothing that compares to walking in the woods and having a cub come into a clearing, followed by two other cubs and momma bear. The bears were very comfortable being around us. I was in awe of being around the bears!

"The course is balanced with excellent didactic lectures and field excursions to see the bears and their habitat. My only 'complaint' is the course is too short. Time went by way too fast. Perhaps you could offer an Advanced Field Study course for those of us who long to return for another visit."
Ellen C – Maine 2012

"I attended the Bear Study Course (Bear Camp to me) in August of 2012. It was an incredible few days of emersion in the study of black bears. I learned so much. I love to photograph black bears in the wild. Learning so much from the wonderful bear.org website and the field study course has improved my bear photography immensely. The more you know about the behavior of your subject the better you can portray it. Thank you so much Lynn, Sue, Sharon, and all of the workers at the bear center. If only there was a group like yours to explain human behavior maybe our world would not be in such turmoil. Thank you for all you do for the animals and for human understanding of them."
Jackie O – North Carolina 2012

"Before seeing the birth of Hope on the den cam, I was terrified of bears—I had seen too many “bear scare” stories in media. After reading the wealth of information about black bears on the bear.org site I wanted so much to be a bear study participant. It was a truly life-changing event for me to be able to learn directly from the researchers and track amazing bears in their own habitats. This was a priceless opportunity I will remember forever. The only negative part was having to leave the research area at the end of the session. A part of me will always be there, wanting more and more knowledge about the bears. Black bears everywhere will be safer in their environments if more people can have accurate information about them."
Jasmine D – Michigan 2012