Happy Holidays from the Great Bear Foundation!

December 21st, 2022

A polar bear looks up and to the left, stretching its neck, against a background of willows and snow. Text reads Happy Holidays from the Great Bear Foundation. Thank you for your support!

Happy Holidays

Thank you for supporting bear conservation. 

As we embrace the return of the light in the northern hemisphere, we thank you for your support of our work to protect bears and their habitats, and foster coexistence between people and our ursine neighbors.

The Great Bear Foundation is a member-supported grassroots organization. Whether you volunteered, donated, boosted our social media, or lent moral support, we could not achieve our goals without your help. Thank you.

Highlights of 2022
We’d love to share some highlights of the work you helped to support this year.

Return of our Arctic Ecology Field Courses
We were thrilled to return to Churchill on Hudson Bay for our polar bear and beluga whale field courses after two years of pandemic cancellations! We experienced unusually warm weather in both summer and fall, with ice forming in the bay alarmingly late. However, we were fortunate to experience incredible wildlife viewing, including polar bears, beluga whales, red and arctic fox, arctic hare, snowy owls, ptarmigan, and a very grouchy-looking ice-encrusted muskrat. The aurora borealis graces us with spectacular shows, and our groups were thoughtful, engaged, and a lot of fun. Check out video highlights from our summer and fall trips, thanks to GBF board president and field course instructor, Frank Tyro.
Stay tuned for 2023 trip dates!

Bear Smart Missoula
Great Bear Foundation is a member of the Missoula Bear Smart Working Group. Our goal is to address the root causes of human-bear conflicts, reducing the risks to human safety and private property, as well as the number of bears that must be killed or relocated each year. The working group is calling for expanding the existing bear buffer zone around Missoula and has completed a hazard assessment and management plan for Missoula. On October 3rd, the city and county voted unanimously to pass the Bear Smart resolution. Click here for more information on Bear Smart Missoula efforts.

Spring Bear Fairs and Bear Honoring
GBF and Rattlesnake Creek Watershed Group co-hosted a spring fair celebrating bears with representation from FWP, Bear Smart Missoula, and Be Bear Aware. Attendees learned about securing bear attractants, their local watershed, bear spray demonstrations, and went for a hike identifying bear signs and foods.

In Alaska, we collaborated with Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Takshanuk Watershed Council, and Wind River Bear Institute on a Community Outreach Day in Haines, complete with bear spray and electric fence demonstrations, working Karelian bear dogs that are trained to prevent and mitigate human-bear conflict, and a hands-on education station with bear hides and outreach materials. Thanks to Alaska Conservation Foundation for funding the event!

Summer Outreach with Missoula City Parks & Rec Camps

Missoula staff was busy all summer long with nature walks, GBF’s bear ecology and safety curriculum, and backcountry camping tips, in partnership with Missoula City Parks & Recreation day camps. Thanks to all who took part, and to Missoula Parks & Rec for partnering on these fun programs!

Bears and Apples Update
Wild bear foods produced poor crops this year due to an unusually cool and wet spring in the Missoula area, pushing bears to look to town for unsecured attractants. GBF, our trusty volunteers, and the Great Bear Apple Drive removed 5,161 lbs of fruit from the community. We attended a half dozen outreach events, reaching over 550 people over the season. We taught residents about what bears need to survive, how to secure attractants to keep bears and people safe, pressed cider, and engaged in discussions about the larger picture of creating a bear aware community. Thanks to Vital Ground Foundation, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and Western Cider for support and partnership! Many thanks to all the volunteers, donors, and local residents who made this program a success.

See our Archives for all past news and our Blog for recent news.

  • Great Bear Foundation
    is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Missoula, Montana, dedicated to the conservation of the eight species of bears and their habitat around the world.
    img img img
  • Make a tax-deductible donation to Great Bear img

    Shop and help support Great Bear image

Visit our Shop for great deals on artwork, outdoor gear, T-shirts and more! And help Great Bear at the same time!