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Donate on Giving Tuesday and Get a Pat Race Bear Calendar

November 29th, 2020

A Calendar With Bears On It by Pat Race

2021 Calendar With Bears On It by Pat Race

Now through December 5th, donate $50 or more, and we’ll send you A Calendar With Bears On It by Juneau illustrator, Pat Race of Alaska Robotics as a thank you gift!

Just click here to make a tax deductible donation of $50 or more, and we’ll send you this whimsical 2021 calendar!

Be sure to check out Pat’s online store, Alaska Robotics, for your holiday shopping! Support the artists who support us!

Check out some sample images from Pat’s Calendar With Bears On It.

Sample image of a salmon bear from A Calendar With Bears On It By Pat Race

Sample image from A Calendar With Bears On It By Pat Race

Sample image of black bear towering over Juneau from 2021 Calendar With Bears On It By Pat Race

Sample image from A Calendar With Bears On It By Pat Race

Details on the 2020 Great Bear Apple Drive

August 25th, 2020

Volunteer climbing apple tree

Climbing trees is often one of the highlights for volunteers with Bears and Apples.

Are you interested in helping us help the bears by picking fruit to keep bears out of neighborhoods, and out of trouble? Join the Bears and Apples Program!

Do you have fruit you want to donate or compost?
If you are capable of harvesting your own fruit, be sure to pick ALL your fruit, and any windfallen fruit on the ground, to make sure you don’t leave any tasty attractants behind to lure bears into your yard.

Donate Apples to Western Cider, and get cider coupons as a thank you!

Starting September 13th, 2020, you can bring your apples (bruised and wormy apples are ok, but no rotten or moldy apples!) to Western Cider at 501 N. California Street, Missoula.
Please follow all local and state COVID-19 protocols and safety guidelines.

Bring compost (FRUIT ONLY!) TO Garden City Compost
– Drop off loads of FRUIT ONLY at no charge during business hours at 1125 Clark Fork Ln, Missoula
– Check in with the attendant at the gate
– Each time you drop off you can fill out a raffle ticket for a chance to win goodies like stickers, bags, free drop off coupons, and free compost!
– Do not leave plastic bags or buckets behind, as these are non-compostable
– Please respect the FRUIT ONLY rule–Garden City Compost is partnering with us to prevent human-Bear conflicts by taking fruit at no charge

Do you want to volunteer to pick fruit for homeowners needing help?

Contact us to volunteer!

Do you need help picking your fruit?
Contact us and we’ll send a volunteer!

Are you looking for information on the Haines, Alaska fruit program?
Contact the Haines Library at education@haineslibrary.org or (907) 766-6422

Thank you for helping to keep people safe and bears wild!

Protect our ursine neighbors heading into summer

June 19th, 2020

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Bears on the Chilkoot River by Bob Deck


Protect our ursine neighbors heading into summer

As we approach the Summer Solstice, bears are moving about, seeking out food sources wherever they go. For females with cubs, this is a critical time–moms with new cubs are teaching their young the ropes, still fairly fresh from the den. Nursing females have a lot of responsibility–protect their cubs from other bears, teach them how to be bears, and find enough food to sustain themselves while also producing milk to feed their young. Moms with older cubs are teaching their young how to get their own food, while trying to keep bigger, bolder, more curious young bears safe! It’s a lot of pressure being a bear mom! Meanwhile, females without young are working hard to put on enough weight to sustain pregnancies when they return to the den this fall. Even male bears are under a lot of pressure to get the calories they need in a few short months to get them through next winter! The search for food never stops.

Bears are so adaptable and opportunistic that they will seek out food in new places, or keep coming back to old food sources from years ago, just to check in case they find a meal there again. With their incredible sense of smell and their need for calories, bears often explore our neighborhoods and cabins, looking for an easy meal. Maybe that’s a backyard chicken or a compost heap. Maybe it’s a garbage can or a cherry tree. Or, maybe they’re just poking around out of curiosity, sniffing the yard and seeing what can be found. In any case, when bears get too comfortable around people and our homes, it often means trouble for the bears.

Here in Haines, Alaska, where our northern office is, our community has been enjoying the antics of a beautiful female brown (coastal grizzly) and her tiny new cubs. Last weekend, they made an appearance at the farmstand while I was picking up lettuce and turnips. Mom looked nervous, while the tiny cubs wrestled and frolicked, and she hustled them across a grassy field to cover. She didn’t bother with the farmstand, the crowd of people, or the stray dog who promptly turned tail and headed home (thankfully). But, since then, I’ve heard reports of her trying to get into sheds and garages. Fish and Game has been tracking her movements for a few years now, after trapping her at the dump and fitting her with a tracking collar in 2018, so we know her history. She’s broken into freezers and garages, and even tried to open a door to someone’s home, while people were inside. Tragically, Fish and Game and the local police department have determined they will have to euthanize the bears. This is NOT something they want to do. The state biologist and the police chief are actively working to prevent this kind of incident, but with limited resources and with attractants tempting these bears in every neighborhood, there are not many options. Relocating bears to another location rarely works–in most cases, the bears make it back home in a matter of days, no matter how far away they’re dropped off. Bear cubs are difficult to place in captive facilities, because it takes so much to keep a captive bear enriched and mentally healthy. Even when they can be placed, we’ve lost that genetic contribution from the wild population.

The saddest part of this story is that these deaths are easily preventable. All it takes is a little time walking around outside your home to find anything with an odor, and put it away inside a secure building or bear resistant container. Compost heaps, chicken coops, gardens and fruit trees can be secured with electric fences. Or pick the all the fruit before it attracts bears. It’s that easy. Then, talk to your neighbors about the importance of keeping a bear safe neighborhood. A little thought and action makes the world safer for both people and bears!

You can read about this bear family at the KHNS website by clicking here.

Celebrating Earth Day in a Time of Global Crisis

April 22nd, 2020

Brown bear on Mikfik Creek

Brown Bear on Mikfik Creek, McNeil River State Game Sanctuary, Alaska
Shannon Donahue photo

This is a strange and frightening time with a pandemic affecting every person on this planet. But, we are oddly connected by this shared experience despite our isolation. There is a lot to worry about, from the health of our loved ones to economic stress to what the future holds for our communities. There is also a lot to be grateful for, and we at the Great Bear Foundation are incredibly grateful for your support of our work on behalf of the bears and their habitats. Thank you.

This Earth Day is vastly different from any Earth Day before it. While just a few months ago, many of us were gearing up for 50th Anniversary Earth Day celebrations, shelter-in-place orders have canceled gatherings while we all take time in isolation to protect our communities. But, it’s still possible to celebrate Earth Day, and it may be more important now than ever before.

A healthy planet sustains healthy life for humans and our non-human neighbors. Habitat conservation is as critical as it ever was to sustain resilient communities–both human and ecological. While this is a time of anxiety and stress, it’s also a time to evaluate what’s most important to us, what sustains us. A collective shift in human priorities can ease the pressure we put on the Earth, and create conditions where people and wildlife can thrive.

This Earth Day, please take some time to connect with the natural world around you. Consider the life that shares this space with you, and how we can better share this planet. It can be daunting to think about this on an individual level, but right now we are all demonstrating how people can come together collectively to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities. If we can do this for each other, we can also act collectively to protect our planet and the diverse life it sustains. We can pressure our institutions to shift priorities, and to value our planet at least as much as profits–hopefully more. Environmental justice is justice for everyone–and for all life on this planet.

Thank you for caring about the natural world around you, and thank you for supporting bear conservation. Happy Earth Day.

Double your donation thanks to Patagonia

December 3rd, 2019

Patagonia will match gifts made through Patagonia Action Works this giving season

Last week, we got some exciting news from our sponsors at Patagonia, who have generously funded our Bears & Apples program for several years. As part of their environmental philanthropy program, they will match all donations made to the Great Bear Foundation through our Patagonia Action Works profile page now through the end of 2019!

We are so grateful for all of our supporters, whether you donate money or time, enroll in one of our field courses, participate in public process to protect bear habitat, or help to spread the word about our work through social media. Thank you for supporting our work on behalf of the bears and their habitats.

This year, you helped us to remove bear attractants from residential areas, work with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ data to map bear occurrences and prioritize our bear attractant removal efforts, provide free bear safety and ecology programs to students and communities, and advocate for endangered species protections. Thanks to you, we were able to hire seasonal staff again this year to help with our bear attractant management programs! We had a record apple year in Western Montana this year, so we are especially grateful to everyone who helped us pick fruit to keep the bears out of trouble!

You helped to protect bear habitat in Southeast Alaska’s Chilkat Valley this year. Thanks to your support, the Great Bear Foundation has been part of a coalition that succeeded in getting the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to remand a waste management permit for the Constantine Palmer Mine that threatens important bear and wild salmon habitat in the Chilkat Valley.

Your support also helped our executive director, Shannon Donahue to travel to McNeil River State Game Sanctuary and Katmai National Park to witness how the world’s largest seasonal brown bear population will be affected if the proposed Pebble Mine becomes a reality. Shannon engaged with visitors to McNeil River and Katmai to talk about the threats, and spoke with Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski face to face on the need to reform the 1872 Mining Act to better protect communities and wildlife habitat from the threats of hard rock mines on public lands.

Brown Bear in Grass, Mikfik Creek

This McNeil River brown bear and her habitat are threatened by Pebble Mine


Your support is the key to our success. We understand that in these times, there are many important causes to support, and we appreciate your choice to support bear conservation. Thank you for your generous and loyal contribution to our work on behalf of bears and their habitats worldwide.

Help keep bears and people safe this apple season

September 4th, 2019

Keep bears out of the apple trees

Apples, plums, pears and grapes are ripening up across Montana and North America, offering a delicious bounty for fruit-lovers to pick. What could be better than a tree full of ripe fruit on a golden September day? All that natural sugar and bright flavor!

The trouble is, we humans aren’t the only ones who love to spend a gorgeous fall day picking apples–bears love fruit, too! And, apples ripen at just the right time when the bears are really concentrating on eating as much as possible to prepare for a long winter sleep. What’s the problem, then?

Trees loaded with fruit can draw bears and other wildlife into residential areas, where wild animals come into conflict with people. While it’s nice to see wildlife from the safety of our homes, and it’s a privilege to share habitat with wild creatures like bears, with that privilege comes responsibility. For people and bears to safely share habitat, we humans need to do what we can to set the bears up for success. That means that, while it can be a wonderful experience to see a bear pass through our yard, we need to do what we can to make sure that bear doesn’t stick around and get food rewards from us. That means picking the fruit from our fruit trees, securing garbage, chicken coops, and compost with a bear-safe solution like an electric fence, and storing attractants (anything smelly) securely inside.

People and bears can share habitat, but we need to help the bears by making our homes free of bear attractants.

Would you like to help us keep bears and people safe this apple season? Contact us to volunteer with our Bears & Apples program, helping local residents in the Missoula area pick the fruit from their trees.

Do you need help picking fruit on your property? Contact us and we’ll get a volunteer out to your property to help!

Thank you for keeping bears and people safe!

We’d like to thank Western Cider for their generous support of our Bears & Apples program, transforming the unwanted apples our volunteers harvest into delicious, local cider, and donating 10% of the proceeds from their Great Bear Community Cider to our program! The Bears & Apples program is also generously supported by grants from Vital Ground Foundation, Pagatonia Environmental Grants, and donations from our supporters.

Click here to donate to the Bears & Apples program!

See our Archives for all past news.

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