Appalachian Bear Rescue

Welcome to the November 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Service Projects

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about what service means in their families.


Last year our small homeschool group learned about the Appalachian Bear Rescue (ABR) at the Wildlife Wilderness Week in Pigeon Forge, TN. Our homeschool group decided this month to take on a service project in support of the Bear Rescue Program. The ABR mission is to: 1) rehabilitate orphaned and injured bears for release in the wild 2)provide public education on black bears and regional threats facing them 3) to research bear attributes which may lead to other environmental or health related issues. Our group would participate in the Adopt-A-Cubby program. This would involve the kids saving their pennies to donate to ABR  and collect acorns and hickory nuts to provide food for the orphaned bears. ABR encourages the children to do chores around the house to earn the pennies, not to just take them from their parents.

Joey, a volunteer from the ABR, came to visit our homeschool group and educate us on Coexisting with Bears. We learned about some mistakes that people often make when around a bear and how this can cause problems later. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen getting dangerously close to a bear just to get a good picture. It always surprises me, these are wild animals people!
Joey shared his wealth of knowledge in relation to the black bears that live in our area.  Personally, I was really fascinated by the skull comparisons of a bear that was fed a natural diet (bark and berries) and that of a bear that ate garbage. The color of the skull was yellow compared to the healthy white skull. Also, their teeth were decayed and rotten. Did you know that a bear eating human food and garbage will live half as long as a bear that eats a natural diet? The kids loved exploring the samples of bear scat, fur, teeth, and food.

The children were eager to learn about the black bears and how we can help protect them. Each family was thrilled to receive an adoption certificate. As a group, we adopted a young cub named Colton. It was exciting to see a picture of the bear our money and acorns will be helping. Joey emailed us later to let us know our pennies added up to $76.62. Colton will be released back into the wild after the winter, so anytime we see a black bear in the Smokies, it could be Colton!
Would you be interested in supporting the Appalachian Bear Rescue in their mission of helping the black bears of the Smoky Mountains?  Their website offers a lot of information and there is a lot of great pictures of black bears and a way for you to make a donation via PayPal. There is also some kids activities and more, visit them online at:  You can see some great picture of Colton and the work they do at ABR on their facebook page.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon November 13 with all the carnival links.)

  • Acts of Service: The Great Neighborhood Clean Up — Sarah at Firmly Planted shares how her daughter’s irritation with litter led to eekly cleanups.
  • Running for Charity — Find out how Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her love of running and a great new app to help feed the hungry.
  • 50 Family Friendly Community Service Project Ideas — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares a list of 50 family-friendly community service project ideas that are easy to incorporate to your daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonal rhythmn.
  • Volunteering with a Child — Volunteer work does not need to be put on hold while we raise our children. Jenn of Monkey Butt Junction discusses some creative options for volunteering with a child at Natural Parents Network.
  • Family Service Project: Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina — Erika at Cinco de Mommy volunteers with her children at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, where 29% of the recipients are children.
  • Family Service Learning: Advent Calendar — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school offers her family’s approach to some holiday-related community service by sharing their community focused Advent Calendar. She includes so tips and suggestions for making your own in time for this year’s holidays.
  • How to make street crossing flags as a family service project — Lauren at Hobo Mama offers a tutorial for an easy and relatively kid-friendly project that will engage young pedestrians.
  • Pieces of the Puzzle — Because of an experience Laura from Pug in the Kitchen had as a child, she’s excited to show her children how they can reach out to others and be a blessing.
  • Appalachian Bear Rescue — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how saving pennies, acorns and hickory nuts go a long way in helping rescue orphaned and injured black bears.
  • Volunteering to Burnout and Back — Jorje of Momma Jorje has volunteered to the point of burnout and back again… but how to involve little ones in giving back?
  • How to Help Your Kids Develop Compassion through Service Projects — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares service projects her family has done along with links to lots of resources for service projects you can do with your children.
  • Involving Young Children in Service — Leanna at All Done Monkey, the mother of a toddler, reflects on how to make service a joyful experience for young children.
  • A Letter to My Mama — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has dedicated her life to service, just like her own mama. Today Dionna is thanking her mother for so richly blessing her.
  • 5 Ways to Serve Others When You Have Small Children — It can be tough to volunteer with young children. Jennifer at Our Muddy Boots shares how her family looks for opportunities to serve in every day life.
  • When Giving It Away Is Too Hard for Mommy — Jade at Looking Through Jade Glass But Dimly lets her children choose the charity for the family but struggles when her children’s generosity extends to giving away treasured keepsakes.
  • Community Service Through Everyday Compassion — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children calls us to Community Service Through Everyday Compassion; sometimes it is the small things we can do everyday that make the greater impacts.
  • School Bags and Glad RagsAlt Family are trying to spread a little love this Christmas time by involving the kids in a bit of charity giving.
  • Children in (Volunteering) Service — Luschka at Diary of a First Child reminisces on her own experiences of volunteering as a child, reflects on what she thinks volunteering teaches children and how she hopes voluntary service will impact on her own children.

6 thoughts on “Appalachian Bear Rescue”

  1. Wow, what a cool service project! I love the idea of adopting a cub. I can’t personally imagine getting close to a bear to take my picture — brr. And how interesting that you got to see firsthand the effects of a natural vs. inappropriate diet. Makes me wonder what my skull looks like, ha ha!


  2. What an awesome example of how homeschooling meshes so perfectly with service projects (and with teaching our kids about the values that are important to us). I need to talk to Kieran about doing a penny project – he is obsessed with coins, I think he’d like to see what they could buy.


  3. How neat!! As Dionna said, what a great way to use the homeschool format to work in service projects. I honestly really look forward to when my kids are old enough to be more involved.


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