Late summer is here and Katmai National Park’s brown bears are packing on the pounds in preparation for their winter hibernation. National Park Service rangers and explore.org’s resident naturalist Mike Fitz have many live events in store this month, including Fat Bear Week which begins September 29. And, don’t forget to watch the bears every day on explore.org.
Join park rangers and other experts for in-depth conversations about brown bears and salmon. Find these events on the Brooks Live Chat channel. And, if you miss any of our live chats, you can find the replays on our Bears and Bison YouTube channel.
- A Conversation with Katmai National Park Superintendent Mark Sturm: September 1 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific
What challenges does Katmai face now and in the future? Get a superintendent’s perspective on the park’s priorities, issues, and plans for the future when Ranger Naomi Boak interviews Mark Sturm, superintendent of Katmai National Park. Submit your questions in advance using Ask Your Bearcam Question.
- Late Summer at Brooks River: September 8 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific
During a season when daylight wanes and nights begin to grow long and frosty, Brooks River is still very much alive. Brown bears, who seem to have an unlimited stomach capacity, seek to satisfy their hunger while spawning salmon attempt to complete their life’s work. Join explore.org’s resident naturalist Mike Fitz and Ranger Naomi Boak from Katmai National Park as they discuss the late summer season at Brooks River. It is the second peak season on bear cam and a time of year that offers bears their last opportunity to gain the fat reserves necessary to survive winter hibernation.
- The Language of Bears: September 15 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific
So you speak English, German, Urdu, etc. Want to learn Bear? In this chat Ranger Naomi interviews Bear Management Ranger Nick to translate bear language into our own. What does it mean when a bear lowers its head? That popping sound—what does that signal? Is that a fierce growl or a friendly greeting? No need for Google Translate today.
- Katmai’s Keystone: September 22 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific
Pacific salmon are born in freshwater, grow large in the sea, and return to their place of birth to spawn and die. Their uncommon lives have extraordinary consequences for the ecosystems they inhabit. Join Mike Fitz to explore the amazing lives of Pacific salmon—the heartbeat of Bristol Bay’s economy, culture, and ecology.
- Fat Bear Junior Bracket Reveal
Which chubby cubby will face off in the first ever Fat Bear Junior tournament? Find out at the beginning of the bearcam play-by-play on September 20 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific.
Fat Bear Week
Choose the fattest bear of the year! Some of the largest brown bears on Earth make their home at Brooks River in Katmai National Park. Fat Bear Week is an annual tournament celebrating their success in preparation for winter hibernation. From September 29 to October 5, your vote decides who is the fattest of the fat. Visit fatbearweek.org and join the special live events on the Brooks Live Chat channel.
- Fat Bear Week Junior: It is win and you’re in for these young and maturing bears! During this warm-up event for Fat Bear Week, you choose the bear cub who will compete with the largest adults in the annual Fat Bear Week tournament. Fat Bear Week Junior takes place Sept. 23-24 on fatbearweek.org.
- Fat Bear Week Bracket Reveal: September 27 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific.
- Welcome to Fat Bear Week: September 29 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific.
September 6, 13, and 20 at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific
A favorite of rangers and bear cam fans alike, play-by-plays are live events when rangers and other experts narrate the bear and salmon activity at Brooks River. It’s an opportunity to learn more about the individual bears on the cams and how they survive. Find these events on the Brooks Live Chat channel. You never know what might happen!
Chat in the comments with Mike Fitz, explore.org’s resident naturalist, and rangers from Katmai National Park during our weekly Q&As. Bring your questions about bears, salmon, and Katmai.
- Explore.org: Every Tuesday from 5 – 7 p.m. Eastern / 2 – 4 p.m. Pacific in the comments on the Brooks Live Chat channel.
- YouTube Q & As: Every Thursday from 2 – 4 p.m. Eastern / 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Pacific in the comments on the Brooks Falls YouTube page.
- Tiktok Q & As: Find these on the explore.org Tiktok channel. September 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 at 5 p.m. Eastern / 2 p.m. Pacific.
Fat Bear Week in the Classroom
We invite teachers to take bear cam into the classroom and consider the different ways in which bears find success in Katmai’s challenging environment. Rangers from Katmai National Park and explore.org’s resident naturalist Mike Fitz will record a special broadcast to answer your students’ questions. Learn more about how your class can participate.
Did you see something on the bear cams you’re curious about? Or, would you like to submit a question in advance for our live events? Ask it here. Rangers and expert staff may answer your question in a live chat, in the bear cam comments, or in a blog post.