At the Pennsylvania Ursids field school you spend a week learning all about the black bear, its habitat needs, biology, management and more!
PA Ursids takes place…
at the STONE VALLEY RECREATION AREA in the heart of central Pennsylvania near State College (see photo above!). Accommodations include a large classroom space, basic cabins with bunk beds and shared bathrooms.
Currently, the PA Ursids field school is not being offered.
A team of wildlife and outdoor professionals…
teach at the Pennsylvania Ursids from various agencies and conservation organizations including the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Army Corp of Engineers, Penn State Extension, and more. In its inagural year, Gary Alt, who coordinated the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s black bear research and management program for over 25 years, will be the field school’s lead instructor.
Gary has been an instructor with the Wildlife Leadership Academy program since its inception in 2007. He shares:
“For me, it has been an amazing inspiration and honor to be involved in a program that literally changes the lives of impressionable young students, providing them with new tools and confidence to succeed in life, and providing society with hope, support, and leadership skills for the conservation challenges that will arise long after we are gone.”
WATCH THE SLIDESHOW TO FIND OUT WHAT STUDENTS EXPERIENCE!
ANATOMY AND REPRODUCTION: Students will learn hand-ons about the anatomy of bear through a field dissection. They will also be taught about their unique reproductive cycle.
FOREST ECOLOGY AND BEAR SIGNS: Students will take a field trip to learn more about forest ecology and will be taught about signs of bear in the forest.
BEAR CAPTURE TECHNIQUES AND PROCESSING: Students will observe the demonstration of the setting and release of a bear from culvert traps and the processing of anesthetized live bears (tagging, collaring, etc.), if circumstances allow.
TECHNOLOGY IN THE FIELD: Students will practice techniques that biologists use in the field like tracking bears via radio telemetry.
RANGE TIME: Students will learn about firearms safety from NRA certified instructors and spend time at the range - both firearms and archery.
MEDIA ENGAGEMENT: Students will learn from media experts from Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association and more by practicing how to being interviewed on tv and radio and how to communicate with their local paper.
LEADERSHIP SKILLS DEVELOPMENT: Students will present different points of view during a "town hall meeting" about bear/human conflicts.
COMMUNICATION SKILLS DEVELOPMENT: Students will have fun and learn during various team building sessions.
GRADUATION! Students are educated and excited about their time at PA URSIDS, ready to represent the Wildlife Leadership Academy in their home communities!
The mission of the Wildlife Leadership Academy is to engage and empower high school age youth to become Conservation Ambassadors to ensure a sustained wildlife, fisheries and natural resource legacy for future generations. The Academy, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a cooperative initiative involving state agencies and conservation organizations.