Mother bear and her two cubs cuddled up to one another

Welcome PBI Climate Alliance 2024!

Please join us on a journey to the Arctic with two amazing polar bears named Ursula and Violet. Your mini-course will go into further depth on many points introduced in these videos.

Polar Bears International is the only conservation organization solely focused on wild polar bears. However, we champion polar bears wherever they are and we recognize the key role zoos and aquariums play in the ongoing research and conservation efforts at Polar Bears International and in the polar bear community at large. Advancements in polar bear care are continually progressing and enriched captive environments can play a central role in global conservation efforts. 

In addition to discussing what it means to be an Arctic Ambassador Center and one’s individual role in working within his/her Arctic Ambassador Center team, this program includes a grounding in climate science, an understanding of the status of Arctic sea ice and polar bears, and strategies to effect change at the community level. 

Collaboratively, we will work with like-minded organizations, experts, and local knowledge holders to build capacity and achieve the goals of this program. Through the Alliance, we train and empower individuals to find their own role, recognize their unique strengths to join a community of others that share their concern and effect change.

Participants will engage in online learning experiences, attend an in-person summit in the polar bear capital of the world, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada—and stay connected over time with fellow ambassadors and alumni through online gatherings and social media tools.

Specific to this cohort, the 2024 program will:

  • Discuss the appropriate opportunities to talk about climate with viewers/communities

  • Discuss navigating partisan political atmospheres, especially during an election year

  • Explore social media integration and strategies for merging advocacy with high-engagement content creation

  • Work with experienced community change agents and NNOCCI framers through the PBI Arctic Ambassador Center and NNOCCI networks  

  • Learn about the power of community-level actions and how to incorporate into communication plans

  • Address barriers to incorporating advocacy opportunities into communication plans

  • Share ways to collectively measure these outputs

Your online training consists of the following activities:

Activity One: Polar Bear Natural History

  • Basic information on polar bear life history will be presented, including; physical characteristics, food sources, reproduction, behavior and threats. Participants will use the online community Discord for assignments, communication, and collaborative opportunities with fellow participants.

Activity Two: Climate Change

  • Basic information regarding the physics of our changing climate including up to date information on Arctic sea ice.

  • A virtual connection with our Chief Climate Scientist, Dr. Flavio Lehner.

Activity Three: Polar Bears in a Warming World

  • The importance of the relationship between polar bears and sea ice and how polar bears are impacted by sea ice loss in the Arctic.

Activity Four: Working with your AAC Team

  • An overview of contributions of polar bears in managed care to important conservation science efforts, current priorities as identified by AZA's Polar Bear SSP and Polar Bear Research Council (PBRC), EAZA Bear TAG and Polar Bear EEP, and PBI’s Scientific Advisors.

Activity Five: Effecting Change and Civic Engagement

  • Policy changes—changes to systems—are needed to save sea ice for polar bears and get our climate back to functioning the way it should. We must move away from an energy system of the past, one that comes from burning fossil fuels, to a system that gets energy from the sun, wind, and water. Let's talk about how we can all use our own strengths to plug into a community that shares our concern and help move the needle.

  • Advocacy—you will get an overview on how PBI participates in advocacy and policy. Whether you work in animal care, education, conservation, communications or guest services, there are meaningful ways to contribute to your organization’s advocacy work. We’ll start to think about what it means to innovate in conservation storytelling and advocacy efforts to move the needle on polar bear conservation.

Photo: BJ Kirschhoffer / Polar Bears International

Ariel view of a bear on the sea ice

About Us

Polar Bears International

Polar Bears International is the only organization dedicated solely to wild polar bears. We know polar bears – their habitat, their ecology, their threats – and are recognized leaders in their conservation. Our mission is to conserve polar bears and the Arctic sea ice they depend on.  Through media, science, and advocacy, we work to inspire people to care about the Arctic, the threats to its future, and the connection between this remote region and our global climate. Since 1992, PBI has worked to sustain a future for polar bears across the Arctic.  Leading polar bear scientists guide our research efforts and inform our policy decisions. 

Our field base in Churchill provides a platform for applied research, outreach and education, and global broadcasts from a remote area on the front lines of climate change. Churchill will always be our home - Polar Bears International was born on a Tundra Buggy - but we were so thrilled to get to expand our interpretive presence to test a new pop up center -  Polar Bears International Ice House, in Svalbard, Norway, during the summer Arctic cruise season last year. There we have the unique opportunity to continue to share the polar bear story and shed light on one of the most vulnerable times of a polar bear’s life cycle and our maternal den monitoring program.

We encourage you to watch the "Polar Bears International – About Us" video below and discuss with your team whether you might find it useful in your AAC interpretive space! AND you can find additional videos AACs have used in their interpretive spaces here as well (also in your AAC Toolbox).

Media Highlights

As this cohort has a particular focus on communication, media, and advocacy, we have gathered some of our own media highlights to share with you.

Check out our Press Center for some of our most recent media highlights, and you are welcome to check out a review of our 2023 earned media.

Below, you can watch a video of our 2023 media highlights.

Female polar bear with a cub of the year

Photo: Tim Auer / Polar Bears International


Visit the Mini-Course Overview for more details on the structure of this course.