A Conversation with Steven Amstrup

The 2012 Indianapolis Prize recipient, Steven Amstrup, Ph. D., is one of the most influential scientists working on polar bear conservation today. In 2007, he led a team of scientists doing research that was responsible for protecting polar bears under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. During the webcast you will find out what inspired him as a child to study polar bears, how his groundbreaking radio collaring research helped us understand polar bears’ dependence on sea ice, and why he gave up the research he loves so much.


A Childhood Love of Animals

What child in the 1960s didn’t love a good episode of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins wrestling alligators or anacondas? Believe it or not, that’s one of the reasons Dr. Steven Amstrup became interested in animals. You never know what will spark an interest in a child, but it was clear early on that Amstrup was hooked – on bears.


Polar Bears:

A Natural History of a Threatened Species

By: Ian Stirling

No animal is more symbolic of the Arctic than the polar bear. In the short space of 150,000 years, it has undergone behavioral and physiological changes to evolve from a grizzly bear into the most specialized predator of the Arctic sea ice. Yet, its survival is now threatened by global warming. Maps, tables, graphs, and the most diverse collection of polar bear photographs ever assembled in a single book provide greater insight into this unique mammal. Underlying it all is a call for immediate action that can still save this magnificent hunter of the Arctic.


(National Academic Standards are referenced)

Design a Polar Bear Conservation Game

(Visual Arts/Language Arts – Middle School & High School)

Students will design a game that teaches children ages 7-10 about the dependence of polar bears on sea ice as well as some simple actions children can take at home to help protect polar bears in the wild.

Our Generation and Climate Change

(Language Arts – Middle School & High School)

If any generation has the power to positively impact climate change, it’s ours (13-17 year olds). We can and should take action now. Through this exercise, students will not only learn about the impacts of climate change, they will learn the art of persuading others to take action through a 3-5 minute speech.

Polar Bear Tracker

(Math/Science – Middle School & High School)

Analyze this real-life data collected by scientists studying polar bears in Hudson Bay. See what types of information they collect while you hone your polar bear math tracking skills.

Polar Bears Need Sea Ice

(Math/Science – Middle School & High School)

Polar Bears International has gathered data from their researchers and formulated graphs that paint a picture of the polar bears’ dependence on sea ice. Students will analyze the data and draw some of their own conclusions.

Click here for the answer key

We Can Make a Difference!

(Social Studies/Science – Middle School & High School)

Now’s your chance to do your part to help protect polar bears! Students work in teams to create community projects that reduce CO2.

All About Polar Bears

(Science – Middle School & High School)

Polar Bears in a Warming World

(Science – Middle School & High School)