Architect's rendering of Polar Bears International House

Churchill has long served as a launch pad for Polar Bears International’s conservation and outreach efforts. With your help, our new home and interpretive center will open by the end of the year.

© Blouin-Orzes Architects

9/18/2018 2:25:23 PM

A Home with the Polar Bears

By Frederica Gamble

Many decades ago I was fortunate enough to see my first polar bear in Churchill, Manitoba, known even then as the polar bear capital of the world—and was immediately hooked! At the time, the concept of global warming or climate change was barely a blip on the radar screen. Nonetheless, the bears’ power, grace, regal presence, and ability to thrive in the harshest of environments captured my soul.

As a founding board member of Polar Bears International, I have watched our organization grow from a small band of dedicated bear watchers to a global force, working to help polar bears meet the challenges of a rapidly changing climate. Now we have an important opportunity to ratchet up our efforts and increase our impact by building a home in the town where it all began.

The new Polar Bears International House will provide us, for the first time, with a central base of operation in Churchill. Polar Bears International House will no doubt improve the efficiency of our Churchill operations. Better yet, we expect our more visible presence will yield immediate benefits in our ability to showcase the bears, the Arctic, and climate science—to visitors in Churchill and a worldwide audience.

When I first visited Churchill in the early ‘80s, only a handful of wildlife enthusiasts ventured to the town. Now, every fall, Churchill’s 800 residents welcome more than 12,000 visitors during polar bear season, filling every available room and space.

As you can imagine, Churchill’s incredible success has made it hard to find the meals and beds needed for our scientists, staff, and volunteers—a logistical challenge that Polar Bears International House will solve. At the same time, the house will also support our outreach efforts.

It has been said that education is the first step in conservation. Awareness, understanding, and appreciation must take place before someone can develop a passion to advocate for what they love. I’m already passionate and keen to pass the baton to others. What excites me the most about our new home is the improved chance to ignite that flame in a substantially larger audience, thereby securing future generations of polar bears. I hope we can count on your help.

Help Build a Future for Polar Bears

Your donation will help make our home a reality. Major gifts will receive recognition on our donor wall. For details, visit our donation page for Polar Bears International House or contact us at development@pbears.org.

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