What is the NABC? The North American Bear Center is dedicated to replacing misconceptions with facts worldwide. It is also working to conserve bear habitat, end poaching for bear body parts, rehabilitate injured and orphaned bears back to the wild and implement methods to reduce conflict between humans and bears. The center features interactive educational exhibits, a quarter mile nature trail and most notably, three resident bears; Lucky, Ted and Honey. In 2013, the NABC will open their latest addition - The Hope Learning Center and Northwoods Ecology Exhibit.
What is the WRI? The Wildlife Research Institute focuses on improving coexistence between people and bears in an increasingly urbanized environment. WRI provides information to over a hundred million people each year through TV, radio, books, magazines, museum exhibits, black bear courses, and the Internet. It created the content for the North American Bear Center's Visitor Center, which opened near Ely, Minnesota, on May 5, 2007. WRI works with government agencies to improve bear management. WRI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supported by course fees, lecture fees, memberships, donors, merchandise sales, and dedicated volunteers
Who is Dr. Lynn Rogers? Dr. Rogers is the leading biologist with the Wildlife Research Institute. He earned his Ph.D. in 1977 from the University of Minnesota, Department of Ecology and Behavioral Biology and has over four decades of wildlife experience.1
Who is Sue Mansfield? Sue Mansfield is an accomplished field researcher and tracker. In the fall of 2002 she formalized her studies by enrolling in the Environmental Studies master's degree program at Antioch University New England with a concentration in Conservation Biology.2
Who is Lily? Lily is a seven year old female black bear. She is a study bear and used to wear a collar featuring a radio transmitter. This allowed the WRI to monitor her movement and location. On January 22nd, 2010, Lily became the first black bear to give birth live via webcam. She delivered one female cub named Hope. Hope's name was chosen through a contest sponsored by CUB Foods. Cathy Williamson of Indiana submitted the winning name. Hope was killed by a hunter on September 16th, 2011.
On January 21st, 2011, Lily gave birth to two more cubs. The male and female were named Faith and Jason. After developing an infection, Jason passed away on April 12th, 2011.
On January 12th, 2013, Lily gave birth to her third litter - a male and female. Her twins were named Eli and Ellie.
As of May of 2015, Lily was seen with three bear cubs. She gave birth some time over the winter. This makes 8 cubs so far for Lily.
Why black bear conservation? Are they endangered? All eight bear species around the world are now listed as vulnerable, threatened or endangered in all or portions of their ranges.3
Will guests be able to visit with Lily or the other study bears? No. Their location is not available to the public.
Are there other ways I can help the NABC?
The center is always in need of items such as:
Letter-size Copier Paper - (20 or 30 reams)
Pillow stuffing (10 bags)
Cedar chips (10 bags - have to be the "aromatic cedar chips" - not the mulch type. Cedar chips are available from places like livestock & pet sections of farm stores (Mills Fleet Farm, etc.) or pet food warehouse stores.
Ball-point pens (4 dozen black; 2 dozen red)
Letter-size legal pads (4 dozen)
Laser ink cartridges - HP 7553 (6)
Inkjet cartridges - Canon 5 PGBK (6)
Gift certificates to Zups Grocery store (Ely and Tower)
Gift certificates to Northland Market (Ely)
Gift certificates for local veterinarian to purchase Eagle Pack holistic dog food (mixed in with other food for bears)
Gift certificates to Voltz
Volunteer time to improve the nature trail, etc.
Where is the picnic held? The Lilypad Picnic® is held at Whiteside Park on East Harvey Street in Ely.
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What are the picnic hours? From 10am to 4pm, Saturday July 23rd, 2016.
What events are planned for the picnic? Games, an auction, face painting, music and more!
Will food be served at the picnic? Yes. The picnic is catered by the Grand Ely Lodge. Lunch will be served from 12:00PM-1:15PM at Whiteside Park. The menu this year will be: Hamburgers, sausages and portabello mushrooms (to create sandwiches - includes kaiser buns). It will include potato salad, coleslaw and tossed garden salad. Lemonade and bottled water will also be available. Cookies for dessert.
No alcohol is permitted at the NABC or picnic location.
Is lodging provided? Lodging and travel accomodations are the responsibility of the guest. Visit the LODGING tab above for more information.
Where are the closest airports/train stations/bus terminals?
Range Regional Airport - approx 1 hr 45 min from Ely
Duluth Airport - approx 2 hrs 30 min from Ely
Amtrak - approx 2 hrs 30 min from Ely
Greyhound - approx 2 hrs 30 min from Ely
Car rentals are available at the Duluth Airport.
Is this picnic a fundraiser for the NABC? It is! There will be a drawing featuring many wonderful items donated by Lily fans and local venders. We will also offer commerative t-shirts and other items for sale. Any monies raised by the event, over the cost of producing the shirts and other items, will go directly to the NABC.
When is the breakfast? From 10am-1pm on Sunday July 24th, 2016.
Where is the breakfast? The breakfast is held at the Grand Ely Lodge in Ely and food will be served from 10:00AM-11:30AM.
What kind of menu will be offered? The breakfast includes scrambled eggs with condiments, choice of French toast sticks or mini pancakes with maple syrup and whipped butter, sausage, bacon, breakfast potatoes, assorted pastries, muffins, whole fresh fruit and assorted juices.
Who will be speaking? Dr. Lynn and Donna Rogers, Sue Mansfield and other staff members of the NABC/WRI.
What are the business hours? As of 2015 the new hours are:
What are the admission fees? As of 2015 the new pricing schedule is:
Adults and Teens $10.50
Seniors (65+) $9.50
Children (ages 3-12) $6.50
Groups (must have 15+)
Adults and Teens $9.50
Seniors (65+) $8.50
Children (ages 3-12) $5.50
What are other points of interest in Ely? The city of Ely offers several kinds of activities/attractions, including art galleries, museums, parks and golf. Visit the Ely Chamber of Commerce for more information.
What items should I bring/pack? Clothes for weather ranging from around 50-90 degrees (Farenheit)
Good walking shoes
Mosquito netting for strollers
Cash or debit/credit card-**most places in town do not accept out of town checks, even restaurants and gas stations**
Governement ID showing DOB for those intending to get fishing licenses
Laptop to upload photos to FB! (There are a few places in town that have free Wifi)
Extra batteries for cameras etc
What about other outdoor activities? The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a popular tourist attraction. If interested, contact the Kawishiwi Ranger Station (218-365-7600) to find out what is required. Once in Ely, the ranger station can also provide advice on fishing lakes, hiking areas, scenic spots, as well as maps.
Anyone looking to fish, canoe, kayak, mountain bike etc, will find plenty of opportunities here! You can bring your own gear, but many places also rent out such equipment. Piragis (1-800-223-6565) and Ya-Ta-Hey (218-365-5982) both rent out equipment.
Need public transportation? Just contact Ely Public Transit for affordable rates.
Pontoon rides available here for $35/2 hours!
Is there any important information I should know regarding my stay in Ely? There are no dogs allowed in city parks or at the NABC. (Service animals excluded)
For those who are very sensitive, please be aware that many places in Ely have taxidermy on display.
Parking in town is limited in the summer, so plan to walk at least some of the time if able. Most parking in Ely is parallel parking.
What kind of dining is available in the area?
1. Wildlife Research Institute. Retrieved 2010-03-22.
2. Wildlife Research Institute. Retrieved 2011-03-04.
3. North American Bear Center. Retrieved 2010-03-22.
Lily and family have over 200,000 fans on Facebook alone!
An enormous thanks to all those who have watched, volunteered and participated in this journey.