Students from high school in Newfolden, Minn. conduct bear research
Ideal weather and perfect snow conditions allowed 21 college-prep biology students from Marshall County Central High School in Newfolden, Minn., to visit a bear den near Newfolden on Monday morning with Department of Natural Resources staff conducting research on the bears. According to Josh Tharaldson, a Newfolden science instructor who submitted the photos, the den housed a mother bear with two yearlings. Students were able to watch and help DNR staff and researchers weigh the bears, collect blood samples and gather other data on the bears. The DNR launched the northwest Minnesota study in 2007 in an effort to learn more about bear diets and habitat preferences in a part of the state that is on the fringe of the animals’ range. According to an April 2013 story in the Grand Forks Herald, six bears at that time had GPS collars that provide real-time location data while two other bears had collars that log GPS coordinates, but don’t provide information until researchers retrieve and download the units. A ninth bear had a VHF radio collar. Several of the bears also have heart monitor implants as part of a partnership with the University of Minnesota and Medtronic, a company that specializes in medical devices and therapies. The DNR has said it will continue the research as long as funding allows.