Bear Trust International and Rugged Bear!

Rugged Bear has partnered with Bear Trust International to support their free Bear Conservation Education Programs! The programs focus on students in grades K-12 and are designed to teach about conservation issues relating to bears by using science and math skills relevant to grade level.

What started out as a compilation of bear stories – from biologists, scientists and writers – called The Bear Book, became a curriculum when teachers suggested creating lessons to compliment the stories. With the seed planted, A.C. (Charles) Smid, founder of Bear Trust International, and Dr. Reynolds-Hogland, Bear Trust’s executive director, created an education program based off The Bear Book aimed at the youth of the U.S. and Canada.  (To read more about their journey creating this program go to: http://beartrust.org/smarter-than-your-average-bear.html)

With a wealth of research from cooperating organizations – Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Polar Bear International and Hudson Bay Project – the curriculums are full of authentic bear and environmental research. The lessons promote environmental literacy, conservation awareness through math, science and technology skills as they relate to the different bear species. Lessons include studies on bear population trends, avoidance of human-bear conflicts, bear-habitat interaction, and our affects on the bear population as humans. Students use their STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) skills through hypothetical field studies, making predictions and drawing conclusions based on information found by Bear Trust researchers and partners.

Bear Trust currently has two curriculum guides available for free download:  1) The Bear Essentials for students in grades K-8, and, 2) The Curriculum Guide to The Bear Book for students in grades 9-12.  To meet the needs of students and teachers nationwide, Bear Trust is currently developing The Bear Book Volume II and Curriculum Guide.  Volume II will include real data from field studies on wild bears, computer science technology, exciting stories about wild bears written by top bear scientists, and online tools. Tools such as Student BEAR Network and a Virtual Poster Session allow students to connect with each other worldwide.

Teachers and students can now download The Bear Book (9-12th grade) and curriculum guide online through the recently added Education Portal (http://beartrust.org/education-portal-2). More information can be obtained by contacting Bear Trust’s executive director: Melissa Reynolds-Hogland at Melissa@beartrust.org. For more information on The Bear Trust, visit: http://beartrust.org.