Ely, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The North American Bear Center broke ground on a million dollar expansion Sunday.
"It's going to add so much," said North American Bear Center Chairman Dr. Lynn Rogers of the expansion, "It's a milestone for the North American Bear Center, for bears and for bear education."
The expansion will house the Hope Learning Center and the Northwoods Ecology Exhibit. It will include a multimedia classroom and a broadcast studio for globally televised lectures.
"The purpose of this is for people to learn more about bears around the world and the ecology of this area," said Dr. Rogers.
Bear Center Volunteers Carol Alverson and Lisa Tohey traveled from the Twin Cities area to see the groundbreaking.
"The four hour drive is nothing. It's worth it," said Tohey.
They say they're happy to see the center expand so it can educate people about bears in new ways.
"I wanted to become a bear keeper because of learning more and more and then being able to educate others," said Alverson.
The support doesn't stop with volunteers. Dr. Rogers says an anonymous donor generously donated about $400,000 to the million dollar expansion.
"It's people that share the dream," said Dr. Rogers.
Rogers says he appreciates the support, so the Bear Center can continue to reach its goals.
"The more people learn about bears, the less they fear them and the more tolerant they are. It's better all the way around," Rogers said.
The North American Bear Center hopes to open the expansion by May of 2013.
Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.