Polar Bears International (PBI) received a $1 million donation towards the construction of a new facility in Churchill during their Polar Bear Affair gala in Toronto Feb. 27.
Dani Reiss, president and CEO of Canada Goose, as well as a current Polar Bears International board member and a former chairman of that board from 2008 to 2017, pledged the money, which represents about half of the money the organization hopes to raise for Polar Bears International House.
“Over the least decade of working with PBI, I have seen firsthand the passion and energy that the team puts into their important research and efforts to ensure polar bears have a future,” said Reiss in a press release. “It is a privilege to be a part of helping them build a much-needed facility which will serve as a launch site for PBI’s research and educational activities on polar bear habitat conservation around the world.”
The proposed Polar Bears International House, construction of which is expected to begin at the start of the 2018 polar bear season, will be built on donated land on Churchill’s main street and designed to be energy efficient and ecologically sound. It will serve as a site to educate visitors to Churchill about polar bears, climate change and the urgent need to take action, as well as provide broadcast facilities for media, support polar bear research and outreach efforts, and assist visiting scientists, educators and other guests whose work and support are critical to polar bear conservation. The facility will include a workspace, bunkhouse, kitchen and storage space for equipment.
“This is the single largest donation PBI has received and it is an amazing commitment to helping secure the polar bear’s future,” said PBI executive director Krista Wright. “We’re humbled by this generous gift and extremely grateful.”