Give to the Max Day Tomorrow - UPDATE November 13, 2018

At the Bear Center, the focus is on Give to the Max Day to make a deeper pond that actually will hold water without the bottom cracking with frost-heave overwinter. GiveMN 2018Kickoff for Give to the Max Day is tomorrow night at 11:30 PM on the Special Events Cam. Today the staff was setting up for the podcasts that will start at that time tomorrow night inside the Bear Center. They picked a spot in the Cub Room that your donations went for the last couple years. It is spectacular.

In the background is also a large-screen very high def monitor that shows cubs doing gentle, harmless play. The star of the 9-minute looping video to me, of course, is June with her light-faced cub Lily (June’s favorite) in spring 2007. The bright screen and hair-sharp picture is an attention grabber for anyone, although it is intended for the kids.

Work overwinter will be on how to make the Cub Room as educational and fun as can be and how to improve our educational outreach to schools, etc.

After starting podcasts tomorrow night at 11:30 PM, Scott and the staff will do them all day Thursday until after the midnight closing. I don’t know how they have the stamina. I look forward to being with them Thursday morning at 9 AM and again at 6 PM with Donna.

Sharon tells it like it is about the pond:

A Message from Sharon – November 12, 2018

Good morning. I'd like everyone who delights in watching our bears to read and share this post as Give to the Max Day grows near. I wanted you all to know just how important the pond is to our bears.

I've worked with our bears from the first day of their arrival at the NABC. I've watched them grow and play in the pond. In 2007 Ted was first to discover he could manipulate the filters and break them free to use as a floatation device as he cruised around the pond. Of course in just a few weeks the water was gone and the Ely Fire Department graciously refilled it. Again and again we lost water. Now, in those days we thought we’d use the hose to refill the pond. Our Honey bear showed us how aeration of a hose happens when it is left for bears to play with. A few shovels and tools also became her toys and were not to be given back.

One of my all time favorite and funny memories is when our faithful volunteer Glenn Kraus and intern Joel were trying to fix the lower falls. They used a wheelbarrow to carry tools and supplies. After removing the supplies, Ted got into the wheelbarrow, which immediately popped the tires.

When Lucky was a yearling he too could find good things to maneuver and play with in the pond Lucky found joy in getting on Glenn's back while he was on his knees removing the rocks that held the liner. Needless to say, it was a laughable moment and the falls didn't get repaired.

We can't forget the frequent visits from Donald and Daisy (Mallard Ducks) and their offspring. Lucky loved to swim towards them until Daisy would fly at him.
In 2017, Tasha found great pleasure in trying to catch Franklin the turtle. The turtle was seen throughout the summer basking on the logs until rudely interrupted by Tasha bear. Ducking and diving Franklin managed to escape.

This past year I was told Holly did a dive off the high falls into the pond. Holly loves water but doesn't often swim; she and Ted like to relax in the overflow extension (aka “The Creek”) near the rock bridge.

Since 2010 we have had noticeable problems with the pond or falls either losing water or not working. It was very difficult this past season to keep the pond full. Refilling by hose taxed the well, begging for it to produce water not only for the pond; so the bears could cool off and swim, but also to clean and re-fill water tubs and bowls for the bears; which is critical for our bears.

In all our efforts from the very beginning, the main goal of the pond has been for the bears to have as true to natural place to swim, play, wash and relax in a pool of water deep enough for all of them to enjoy. It was also the goal to have the pond area pleasant to the eye of the viewers and compatible with natural flora of the area.

As the bear’s #1 spokesperson and caregiver, I ask that each of you think about the incredible value the pond adds for our bears and support us on November 15th on Give to the Max day with your donation.

I thank you and our bears thank you.
Sharon Herrell, Senior Bearkeeper

Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center