ABR Education Programs
Education is a vital part of ABR's mission. We provide education in several ways and in many different venues. The following is a synopsis of our educational offerings:
Representatives of ABR appear regularly at many events throughout the year, such as Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge TN, Spring and Fall Festivals in Townsend TN, Smoky Mountain Trout Festival in Maggie Valley NC, and other similar venues. A table is set up with a display of photos and information about ABR and such bear items as track casts, fur, a skull, scat samples, foods (good and bad) and several games that teach about bears. The volunteers who staff the table answer questions about bears and human/bear interactions. Free literature is available.
Programs and Presentations
The following are the programs we have created, which can be given to a civic group or other organization or to a workshop or class:
1. ABR PowerPoint. This program lasts about 40 minutes. It describes how Appalachian Bear Rescue works; from the time TWRA or other wildlife officers bring an orphaned cub into the facility until it is released back into the wild.
2. A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A BEAR, a PowerPoint program that describes what bears are doing and what they are eating month by month through the year. Seasonal implications for humans living or recreating in bear country are included. The program ends with fascinating facts about bears. This program lasts about an hour.
3. BEARS 101, a PowerPoint program that begins with the Origin of Bears and the Black Bear Family Tree. We show how early peoples related to bears and how the habitat for black bears has changed, with historic and present range maps. Black bear anatomy and physical characteristics, communication, color phases, life cycle, natural diet, and hibernation are discussed. The rest of the program is devoted to living with bears, recreation in bear country, and what to do if you meet a bear on the trail or anywhere else. A park "bear jam" is shown and discussed at the end. This program lasts about an hour.
4. BLACK BEAR ECOLOGY, a PowerPoint program that was created for a high school ecology class. It targets the concepts of habitat and niche, and identifies relationships such as competition and predation – in relation to the bears. This program lasts about an hour.
5. IF YOU WERE A BEAR, a PowerPoint program that was created for children. It compares and contrasts the life of a bear with that of a human, including such concepts as birth, home, education, foods, growth, family life, and adulthood. The program ends with various facts about bears.
6. YOU AND ME – Coexisting with Bears, a PowerPoint program that addresses the topic of coexistence for those who live in bear country. We begin with some general information about bears and then discuss humans in bear habitat and what we must do to keep the bears as well as ourselves safe. We emphasize the mistakes that people often make, and the problems that are created. We dispel some common misconceptions about the danger of encountering a bear and offer advice for bear encounters, whether in your yard or in the woods.
7. In addition to the above, we can give a talk about bears, showing some of the bear items mentioned in the description of Tabling, without using a PowerPoint program. We can then answer any questions that members of the audience might ask.
Especially for Schools
Any of the above named programs can be given for a school group. However, we have a special program for children that we call Adopt-a-Cubby. Our bears need the support of many adoptive parents, young and old.
The procedure we usually follow is to visit the school/classes that want to participate and present an introductory program. We show photos of the Appalachian Bear Rescue facility and some of the cubs, and talk about bears and their lives in the wild, using such bear items as track casts, scat samples, claw models, a skull, and others. We then ask the children if they would like to adopt a cub, and (since the answer is always “yes”) present an adoption certificate and a photo of an ABR cub to the teacher. We also show the milk carton wrapper that can be colored to make a “bank” for collecting money. We stress the importance of children earning money for their bank by doing chores around the house.
The teacher sets the timetable for the project. Two weeks has proven to be a good length of time. When the time is up, we return to collect the money and to provide a fun activity as a way of thanking the children for their help to the bears.
Some schools coordinate this program with the collection of acorns and hickory nuts in the fall. If this is done, we can pick up the nuts at the same time as the banks.
For additional information about any of the above programs, please email ABR's Education Coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org