Volunteer Central

Welcome to our Volunteer Community!

2014 holds much excitement for the North American Bear Center (NABC) and Wildlife Research Institute (WRI) - the new Hope Learning Center; both a new Executive Director and Director of Operations for the NABC; and an anticipated record-breaking number of volunteer hours for both organizations.

Join our dynamic network of global volunteers who donate their time and talent to the North American Bear Center and/or Wildlife Research Institute. Whether you're around the block in Ely, MN or across the pond in London, England, you can make a real contribution toward furthering our goals in bear research and education. We couldn't do what we do without loyal, hard-working, enthusiastic volunteers like you.

We have both on-site and virtual volunteer opportunities, and welcome your participation either on a regular schedule or on periodic projects. Please complete our volunteer application so we can get to know you and how'd you like to help. Then, come back often to see what's new in our volunteer world.

Questions, concerns, or suggestions? Please contact us at VolunteerCoordinator@bear.org

We'd love to hear why YOU volunteer at NABC/WRI – please contact VolunteerCoordinator@bear.org

Open Volunteer Positions

  • Bear Facts and Fun Team Member

    Organization: NABC

    Location: Remote

    Number of Positions: 1

    Reports to: Advisory Council & BFF Fun and Games Sub Team Leader

    Program Description: The mission of the Bear Facts & Fun Team is to enhance the fan experience on the Lily the Black Bear Facebook page. The BFF Team is comprised of three sub-groups: The Welcome Team welcomes new fans and helps them navigate the site. The Fun & Games Team creates interactive activities that engage and educate fans. The Education Team provides relevant information from bear.org and bearstudy.org daily updates that supports the current/seasonal activities of the bears. Members may participate on one or all of the three sub-groups.

  • Moderator - Facebook - LTBB

    Organization: NABC

    Location: Off-site

    Number of Positions: 3-4

    Reports to: Lily Facebook Administrator

    Shifts available:  Weekday Afternoons Central Time and Daytime on Weekends

    Overview: The Lily the Black Bear Facebook page is a family-friendly gathering place where fans from around the world can visit and learn about black bears and the research activities conducted by the Wildlife Research Institute. The role of the moderator is critical to maintaining the page in a respectful, inclusive manner. In order to ensure an enjoyable educational and social platform, moderators constantly scan and review the page, answer fan questions, remove spam, and maintain established guidelines.

  • Moderator - Pond Chat

    Organization: NABC

    Location: Off-site

    Number of Positions: 5

    Reports to: Pond Chat Administrative Team

    Shifts Available: Urgent need to fill the following slots: daily 12-2PM CT and 7-8PM CT and weekends 2-4PM CT.

    Overview: Promote a welcoming, positive, and educational experience for all participants visiting fast-paced chat room devoted to educating visitors about the North American Bear Center’s resident bears and the Wildlife Research Institute’s study bears. Share current information, answer questions, and direct chatters to alternative resources. Enforce chat guidelines in order to maintain a dynamic, respectful, and family-friendly (“G” rated) environment at all times. Support and collaborate with members on your team of mods.

  • Speakers Bureau Member

    Organization: North American Bear Center and Wildlife Research Institute

    Location: Off-site

    Number of Positions: 25 – 50

    Reports to: Trish Kirk - Speakers Bureau Coordinator


    As an advocate for black bears and a member of the Speakers Bureau, you will be delivering a pre-designed, 45-minute PowerPoint presentation entitled ‘Black Bears: Dispelling the Myths for Peaceful Coexistence’ to local schools, libraries, nature centers, and other community organizations. Your goal is to promote a welcoming, positive, and educational experience for all audiences. You will be provided with PowerPoint and text plus ongoing support.


Bulletin Board

  • NABC has earned a spot on the 2013 Top-Rated List as a Great Non Profit!

    The NORTH AMERICAN BEAR CENTER is one of the first nonprofits to be honored this year and is now listed as a winner on the Great Non-Profits leaderboard here. The NABC will be featured on the Great NonProfits 2013 Top-Rated List and information about the NABC mission and activities will be distributed to media and corporate foundations. This is wonderful news!

Volunteer Hours for August


Why Volunteer for NABC/WRI?

Fulfill your passion for bears
Put your talents to excellent use
Support ground-breaking research
Cultivate local & global friendships
Enjoy team spirit
Attend fun programs & events

Meet a Volunteer

Volunteer Application Form

If you've already submitted an application for another position, there is no need to re-submit a new application. Just let the Volunteer Coordinator (volunteercoordinator@bear.org) know which new position you are interested in and that your application is on file. Thanks.

Click here to fill out an application

Our Project Teams

Bear Facts and Fun


Bear Facts and Fun is a group of volunteers who welcome new fans as they “like” Lily. The Black Bear (LTBB) Facebook Page, provide some fun and games, and provide facts about bears in a fun and educational way.  The group’s mission is to enhance and optimize the LTBB page and Fan experience on the page.

Den Watchers

Janet & Lynne–DenWatch@bear.org

Dedicated den cam watchers from around the world record minute-by-minute data on behaviors and vocalizations in the den.  Researchers utilize the data to better understand life in the den.

Educational Outreach

Curriculum Coordinator
Helen – EOCurriculum@bear.org
Black Bear Box Coordinator
Trish – BlackBearBox@bear.org

With the goal of advancing the long-term survival of bear populations worldwide, a team of educators works with the NABC to develop school curricula designed to replace misconceptions with current scientific information.

Lily's FUNdraising Team


Energetic group who create on-line fundraising opportunities. Previous successes helped reduce the NABC debt. Current focus is
on raising funds for the “Hope Education Building” and other NABC/WRI projects.

Media Relations


Our Media Relations team provides information about the NABC/WRI to newsrooms around the world.  Media Relations writes and distributes press releases, in addition to handling requests from broadcast, print and online journalists.


Nancy – Membership@bear.org

Each month, reminder letters are sent for memberships that are up for renewal the following month.  A membership database is maintained and personalized ‘thank you’ letters are sent to new and renewing members along with their new membership card.

Moderators - Lily Facebook


‘Lilymods’ are committed team players who continuously scan the LTBB page, keeping it fan-friendly by answering questions, removing offensive posts and politely notifying the poster of the reasons why their post(s) were removed.  Typically, moderators donate 6-8 or more hours a week of their time to support the work of the researchers.

Moderators - Pond Chat


Pond Chat Mods are committed team players who monitor a fast-paced chat room.  They keep it family- friendly, share current information, answer questions or direct chatters to alternative sources to find answers they are seeking about the NABC resident bears or the WRI study bears.   Typically, moderators donate 7-10 hours per week of their time to support the work of the North American Bear Center and the Wildlife Research Institute.


Under the direction of a staff Program Manager, a highly experienced team of volunteers and a rotating summer intern present
hands-on educational programs on-site at the NABC and off-site in various regional venues, including schools. Topics
Include “NABC and Its Bears,” “Tracking Our Research Bears,” and “When Females Leave the Den With Cubs.”

Speakers Bureau

Trish SpeakersBureau@bear.org

The North American Bear Center’s Education Outreach Program has opened new doors with a Speakers Bureau. Knowledgeable
speakers all across the country will be presenting ‘For the Love of Bears: Dispelling the Myths for Peaceful Coexistence’ in
their local area, spreading the message of truth about black bears. 

Team Forward


Team Forward is a group of volunteers that came together in Spring, 2011 to assist as various needs arise in the general operation of NABC/WRI, the research, and the education.  Typical projects include fan surveys, data entry, and facilities maintenance.

Visitor Groups

Glenn & Nancy - groups@bear.org

We are a small, enthusiastic team of on-site volunteers who oversee the whole process of enabling groups to visit the NABC -
scheduling, welcoming, guiding, presenting programs, and answering questions throughout the visit. Our groups come from all
over the United States as well as from abroad and range from school groups, scout groups, family reunion groups, to senior
groups. We love sharing our enthusiasm for the NABC and our love for Ted, Honey, and Lucky, and strive to make every visit
a memorable occasion.


Myra – VolunteerCoordinator@bear.org

Our Volunteer Team coordinates the recruitment and recognition of our local and global volunteers.  We match skilled volunteers with the needs of the NABC/WRI through an application and interview process; design programs to recognize all volunteer contributions, both large and small; and maintain a vibrant Web page that connects all of our volunteers to the NABC/WRI and to each other.  Our mission is to create a volunteer “community” in the truest sense of the word.