Spirit Bear Essays from
Mrs. Donato’s Grade 7 Reading Class
-The Spirit Bear is an amazing creature. Through reading the book, Touching Spirit Bear, and watching these postings on Apollo’s website, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world. Before my seventh grade reading class, if anyone asked me what a Spirit Bear was, I would have had no idea. Now I can tell you that they are genetically unique creatures like no others. Also, we need to preserve our wilderness to keep the spirit bears’ home safe. BECKY
-The Spirit Bear, also known as the Kermode bear or ghost bear, lives on the Pacific coast of British Columbia, Canada. One out of every ten bears is born white on this island. They usually live in the island’s rainforest, also known as The Great Bear Rainforest. The bears are a white/cream color with a yellowish tint to their fur. This tint is due to their diet, as 95% of it consists of salmon. The other 5% of their diet is comprised of fruits, nuts, and insects. When the bear is born, it weighs about a half a pound, but it reaches approximately 300 pounds at maturity. Mothers of these cubs are very protective as they teach them the necessary survival skills. The Kermode bear is very loving and wouldn’t attack a person unless they felt threatened. GABY
-The Spirit Bear has been a topic in my reading class for months. I think my teacher is in love with them! The black bears’ unique recessive genes allow it to give birth to a pure white cub. This only happens rarely. Before we found your website, we were introduced to the book, Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen. We loved the book as a class, and we loved Mikalesen’s descriptions of the characters, Cole, Garvey and Edwin. We learned how these two first nation men helped Cole overcome anger and gain respect for himself, for other people, and for the Great Spirit Bear. It was wonderful to find your website! It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to watch Apollo as he was hibernating! I will keep watching for other videos because they are so unique! AMBER
-This weekend I decided to learn more about Kermode bears online. I learned that the reason they are so hard to spot is because they blend in with their surroundings. This sounds weird to me since a forest is green, and Apollo is white. I realized, though, that when sunlight is coming through the foliage, it gleams and shines off the dew on the leaves. “He saw a flash of light disappear around the corner and started running after it.” This quote from The Ghost of Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen shows how the white can stand out. I guess there are no loopholes when we hear that all animals are camouflaged! CALEB
-There is a very special bear that most people don’t know about. It is called the Kermode, and it needs our help! This beautiful animal lives in British Columbia and is in danger of extinction. Hunters shoot bears as if they are nothing, but these white bears are a rare type of black bear. These black bears may be carrying a recessive gene that causes some of their cubs (they say one in 10) to be born pure white. This is actually a whole separate breed of bear, not an albino. Different genes run through its veins! Even though this bear is white, the second generation of its cubs will produce a black bear. There are only 400 of these beautiful creatures in the world today, and the numbers are receding. We must preserve their habitat. I have learned that these bears are not afraid of humans because they rarely come in contact with them. Because of this they are easily killed. We must make sure that this species survives. They need our help! These animals are not albinos, they are not misplaced polar bears; they are a breed of unique bears that we may be throwing away for good! MADDY
-I stumble through my backyard and into the thick forest of British Columbia. Swirling snow flies into my eyes. I blink, trying to clear my vision. My feet crunch through the blanket of snow. All of a sudden, the ground is gone from beneath me. I feel something soft under my sprawled fingers. Slowly, I look down. A single breath escapes my lips.
Apollo: I blink my heavy eyes, groggy with sleep. I feel a lump lying on top of me. I growl and raise my head. The strange form scrambles out of my den, and I lay my head down once more to go back to sleep.
“Whoa!” I breathe. I shake my head in amazement. I have just fallen into a Kermode bear’s den! I hurry back to my house and switch on my computer. I type Spirit Bear into Google’s search engine. I learn that every tenth black bear can be born pure white. It is genetics! There are only a few hundred left, and there is only one place in the world where they can live—British Columbia! Suddenly, a crazy idea enters my head……
Apollo: There it is again. That form is back in my den. I raise my head again, ready to attack, but just as quickly, it disappears again. I shake my head angrily. I need to get back to my hibernation. Hopefully, it would now be gone for good.
I ease backwards, slowly sliding my way out of the bear’s den. Now, just at his entrance, I place a video camera. I nod, satisfied with my work. When I arrive home, I stir up a cup of hot chocolate for myself. With the warm mug in my hands, I once gain turn to the computer. My fingers dance across the keyboard as I begin to create my website about this bear. Excitedly, I put everything I now know about Spirit Bears onto the site. Finally, I add the live cam. The first ever!! I title it, “Watch a live Sprit Bear!” but it sounds too corny. I sit back, stumped. I thought about the bear’s snowy fur…like the moon. Then it comes to me….Apollo! “Watch Apollo live!” I can’t wait to share Apollo with the world. SAVANNA
Thank you to Mrs. Donato for sharing Apollo with her Grade 7 Reading Class students.
Reading and responding to her students emails has been richly rewarding.
Apollo Gives Himself a Spring Bath;
I sincerely hope more teachers around the world share Apollo’s videos with their students to help raise awareness of how students can help threatened species in their own environment.