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Black Bear Educational Resources

picture of a sow black bear with her cub.

New York State is home to roughly 6,000-8,000 black bears that may be found in all regions of upstate New York from spring through fall. In a continuing effort to educate New Yorkers about co-existing with black bears and reducing human-bear conflicts, NYSDEC has partnered with Untamed Science and state wildlife agencies in New Jersey, Arkansas, and Florida to produce the "Understanding Black Bears" curriculum and black bear education website (links can be found in the right column under "Links Leaving DEC's Website"). Take advantage of this fun and engaging resource to encourage your students to appreciate black bears in their environment, and to live and recreate safely and responsibly in bear country.

The website provides a vibrant assortment of free multimedia resources for educators and students. All NY classroom teachers, home-school groups, and other educators may utilize this inquiry-based approach to learn about:

  • black bear biology
  • natural history of the black bear
  • bear behavior
  • population management
  • living in bear country

With 29 lessons for students in Kindergarten to 8th grade, the self-contained computer program is full of:

  • puzzles
  • computer games
  • special bear movies
  • quizzes
  • interactive learning activities
Picture of a student holding the content cd for the Understanding Black Bears Curriculum.

You will find a wide variety of options to match the needs of your students. A 'Teacher Quickstart Overview' and 'Correlations to the Common Core' make it easy to use the "Understanding Black Bears" curriculum in your classroom.

Additionally, check out the "Living with New York Black Bears" DVD, available in school libraries, public libraries throughout New York, and upon request from the DEC. The 60 minute DVD combines over six years of black bear footage from across North America with expert interviews and guidance from wildlife management professionals. Teachers can use it to aid in the instruction of biology and ecology. Students may use it as a resource for their research. With increasing rural expansion, human-bear encounters are becoming more common every year. This educational DVD is a great source of information regarding:

  • biology of black bears
  • human-bear encounters/ conflicts
  • black bear management

In rural areas where bear encounters are more common, the DVD could be used in a school assembly to educate students about:

  • what they might expect living in bear country
  • how to handle interactions with bears
  • how to responsibly share their neighborhood and recreation areas with bears.

Encourage your students and their families to observe and appreciate black bears, while keeping their backyards safe, and the bears wild!

Living with New York Black Bears DVD
Find this educational DVD at your school library,
local library, or request a copy from the DEC.
A black bear on top of a picnic bench
If you and your students live in areas of higher black bear population
density, such as the Adirondack and Catskill regions, this DVD and
free curriculum contain valuable advice on avoiding human-bear
conflicts in your neighborhood and backyard.