A Good Day - UPDATE November 4, 2020

Today, in this week-long reprieve from cold and wind, I especially appreciated the difference today with temperatures in the 50's and 60's. Flying SquirrelFlying SquirrelAs I got out of my vehicle at the WRI, I tipped my head back for the last sip of a diet coke and saw the top of a white pine surrounded by rich blue sky. Then looking across Woods Lake at the old beaver lodge, I saw that all the snow had melted from the ice. It felt almost balmy. Then I noticed something in the far marsh that I hadn't noticed when leaves were still on the trees-a fourth beaver lodge on this little 10-acre lake. This lodge has no winter food cache, though. The beavers are spending the winter at an even newer lodge at the other end of the lake.

Meanwhile, the bear team is keeping track of Lily's movements as we continue to hope for a den cam.

White pine with blue skyWhite pine with blue skyChecking the mailbox, I found a nice surprise. Minnesota's oldest living legislator, Senator Cal Larson, celebrated his 90th birthday with a present in reverse. He sent a $500 check for the Bear Center. I took that to be a celebration of something he did back in 1971. That's when he wrote the legislation that elevated Minnesota black bears from varmints to protected big game animals. The legislation gave partial protection to Minnesota's bears which enabled me to write bear management regulations that helped quadruple the population. Cal's legislation also helped my research, part of which became the North American Bear Center that he visits and supports to this day. Thank you, Cal. Good memories that we will never forget.

This good day ended with flying squirrels eating sunflower seed hearts outside my office window, reminding me of something I still haven't tried. A visitor discovered a few weeks ago that these fast-moving squirrels will eat from a patient person's hand.

Woods lake ice without snowWoods lake ice without snow New beaver lodgeNew beaver lodge


Speaking of nature-loving people, I am very much looking forward to being with the people who will share the Black Bear Field Courses during July and August of 2021. Fourteen spots are still open. For more information, go to the "Field Study Courses" menu heading at www.bearstudy.org and/or e-mail Judy Thon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Two testimonials from the 2020 courses tell more:


"2020 was our fourth bear course, and it was unlike any we'd ever done before. Because of COVID-19, attendance was down so we did not get to meet as many people as we usually do. But that was more than compensated for by the huge volume of bears. And this year we got to see Shadow, the local matriarch, as well as her great-great-great-great-grand cubs, all in the same four days. It never ceases to amaze me how much is known about the bears around Ely, and how willing they are to share our company. There's no experience like this anywhere else in the world."
Matthew from MD



"I've been thinking (and worrying, of course) about our bear friends, but I wanted to share some words with you all and with JM and others who contributed to our great experience with the bears this year. I, along with others, I'm sure, worried a lot about exposure to covid in these trying times. I want to say to you that you were "over the top" in your attention to our well-being. It was clear that you all understood the steps that had to be taken to protect everyone (including yourselves!). I so appreciated it, and it made the days even more delightful because I never worried. I hope to see you all next year for my FIFTH year. Your care for us and the bears is deeply appreciated."
Neala from MN


click here to read more testimonials

Now, I'm heading home with homework related to the book and determined not to get too caught up in the election with Donna.

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