Phase I is Finished!
|The Crew has really been hard at it! The walkway is finished and looks fantastic. We have been testing it out with special groups and behind the scenes tours, but it has not yet been open to the public. We are shooting for an opening in the spring of 2013, and we want you here! We’ll be sure to keep you posted on our progress – in the meantime, you can have a peek yourself at our youtube videos and flickr page to see how things are coming!Youtube Videos
What is BEARS at AWCC?
The Bear Education Awareness Research Sanctuary (BEARS) will be a new highlight at AWCC. BEARS will broaden the region’s offerings for visitors to learn more about Alaska’s three bear species. The architecture of BEARS at AWCC strives to orient visitors to the unique biodiversity in the state and to educate them about how human actions can help sustain habitats for these wild bears in Alaska and beyond.
Travel within the AWCC campus is possible by vehicle or pathway, but BEARS focuses on an unique experience of interaction with Alaskan bears and the wealth of educational information that AWCC can provide. Pedestrians approach along Black Bear Mountain on an elevated boardwalk within the bear enclosures. The approach experience creates a sense of suspense and excitement for the upcoming bear encounter.
The existing bear exhibit at the AWCC is already like no other, it offers a powerful experience of an almost personal wild encounter with a bear. With BEARS, we have an unique and exciting opportunity to make an already successful bear exhibit become a much larger catalyst for education about Alaska’s bears and the importance of habitat conservation.
AWCC is teaming up with Bear Trust International to develop BEAR-based education rooted in bear research and ecology. BEARS at AWCC will host this innovative education program, along with a signature distance portal that connects visitors with real-world field studies on wild bears worldwide. Touch one screen, and you are transported to a field study on polar bears in Hudson Bay. Touch another screen, and you are transported to a field study on spectacled bears in Ecuador.
These bear-based lessons will also be available for in-class learning at schools throughout Alaska and beyond. Using real data from bear studies worldwide, and wildlife science technology (GIS, GPS, population modeling tools, etc), students develop conservation awareness and environmental literacy at a global level, while simultaneously honing skills in science, math, technology, and communications. To learn more about this education program, please visit Bear Trust International.
AWCC originally opened knowing that interest in wildlife viewing was growing. Over 3 million people have visited the wildlife center since its inception. With an annual visitation of over a quarter of a million people, AWCC has the opportunity to reach a large and diverse audience. By implementing the BEARS Center program, AWCC will be able to educate residents and visitors alike on these magnificent animals, and how to safely and responsibly travel and live in bear country.
Bear viewing in Alaska is an activity appreciated by local Alaskan residents and visitors alike. No other species is as interesting, captivating or endearing to humans as bears. Millions of visitors come to Alaska each year to witness and photograph its amazing wildlife resources. Hence, this bear facility has the ability to attract hundreds of thousands of new visitors each year. Seeing a bear is often at the top of most visitors’ lists. However, bear viewing by its very nature, is usually in remote settings and often comes at a high price. This is why AWCC would like to take advantage of the opportunity we have to share our 3 adult brown bears with visitors in a natural setting only 50 minutes south of Anchorage. School groups, local Alaskans, and visiting summer tourist will have the opportunity to enjoy the Bear Education And Research Sanctuary (BEARS) while viewing bears in a semi-wild natural environment. Already in place is an 18-acre enclosure, which is home to 3 brown bears, 2 adult black bears and other visiting wildlife. Also, a one-acre pond and a coniferous forest are in place and provide a wilderness setting where animals display their natural and wild behaviors.
AWCC is currently fundraising for this project. The total budget to add the Bear Center to the existing park is approximately $6 million. This will allow us to construct a quality facility that provides the necessary aspect of education and bear interaction, all the time having as little impact on the land and being as green of a building as possible. AWCC has hired Z Architects out of Girdwood to design the building, and has tasked The Sibbett Group out of San Francisco to do the interpretive work in the center. For fundraising ideas, or more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org