Beary Interesting Science

An informational flier.

Who said you can’t do bear research while in high school?

Through a new continuing education program hosted by the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, high school science and math teachers will be offered graduate school credit to teach bear science this Fall. The credit will be offered through the University of Alaska Anchorage. This pilot project was developed in conjunction with Bear Trust International (Montana).

Even though I became a scientist myself and studied bears for my PhD work, I found most math and science classes to be painful if not out right boring. I admit that in both high school and early on in college these courses typically put me to sleep. However, when some of these seemingly esoteric and certainly demanding subjects were taught to me in the context of something that interested me, like wildlife science, I suddenly became interested if not entirely captivated.

This continuing education program will teach both the instructors and students about important subject matter all while learning to be an amateur bear biologist.

A compilation of bear research narratives from the first volume of the Bear Book (Bear Trust International) will guide students through an entire curriculum along with original articles from the primary literature–actual scientific papers.

The people recruited to teach the teachers are actual bear biologists including veteran PhD wildlife biologists with Alaska’s Department of Fish & Game.

To learn more about this program, please feel free to contact me at

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Jordan Schaul is a conservation biologist and an animal curator with the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center near Anchorage, Alaska. He received his PhD in conservation medicine from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in zoology. He is a council member (ex officio) of the International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA), a member of the coordinator committee for the Bear Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and an advisor to the Bear Taxon Advisory Group of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Jordan also serves as the Correspondent Editor and Captive Bear News Correspondent for International Bear News. He is a member of the advisory council of the National Wildlife Humane Society, which promotes high standards for wild carnivore care and welfare among private sanctuaries in North America. Jordan is the creator of the Zoo Peeps brand ( which hosts a blog for the global zoo and aquarium community and a wildlife conservation oriented radio program. Jordan is also an affiliate assistant professor at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

Jordan can be reached at jordan [at] alaskawildlife [dot] org or at