• GRR's blog

Grizzly Research in the Rockies FUNdraiser

To acknowledge the businesses who contributed to the raffle and silent auction, I dressed up in a bear costume and ran around town taking pictures of Berry the Bear at that business. All pictures were shown at a slide show during the event. This is Berry at Crossfit.

On Saturday, March 2, 2013 a magical thing happened in Canmore – a community came together to support this research effort. The Grizzly Research in the Rockies FUNdraiser was held in the evening at Communitea cafe in Canmore. Funds were raised through a $5 donation at the door and contribution to raffle tickets. The evening was a great success with approximately 90 people in attendance and just over $2,500 raised! All funds raised have been deposited into the account of a new non-profit organization, Grizzly Research in the Rockies, and will be used to pay for equipment (trail counters and GPS units) for this summer’s field season.

The Music

The Canmore Drummers kicked the evening off with some sweet beats from Djembe drums. The African rhythms filed the Communitea with primal, earthy sounds. Wewere fortunate to have a friend familiar with African dancing surrender her body to the beats and put on a demonstration of what booty shaking truly means in Africa! Towards the end of the drumming, DJ Funkee Wadd began to blend in some smooth funk. Eventually, the drummers faded out and the DJ took over.

DJ Funkee Wadd volunteered his time to ensure the dance floor was full and vibrant all night long. With a blend of funk, techno, and even a little reggae the Communitea filled with infectious sounds that had everyone dancing. At one point, a tickle trunk came out and there were wigs, leopard print pants, and fishnet gloves going around… then the dance floor and the funkyness of the evening was taken to a whole new level!

It’s not often you get to shake your booty like that in Canmore for an evening and I was incredibly grateful to DJ Funkee Wadd and the Canmore drummers for donating their time and talents to get and keep a dance floor going!

Berry went for a run and a ski up at the Nordic Centre too!

The Raffle and Silent Auction

Later I was told that it was one of the best raffles a friend had ever seen in Canmore, and it was truly astounding. The prizes donated from local businesses (detailed below) ranged from fitness passes to boxes of soap, from day packs to base layers, and from jackets to ski passes. In all there were 22 prizes donated to the raffle. The silent auction was small but had some great prizes: folk fest tickets, photographs donated by local artists, an Outdoor Research jacket, and an intro pilates package. With such fabulous prizes, it was no wonder so many raffle tickets were sold!

Raffle prizes were awarded at two points in the evening. Each time, I also gave away several copies of the “Bears Superguide” to people who answered trivia questions about bears correctly. In the end, many people left with more than what they came with. It was a win win for us all!

I was completely blown away by the generosity of my community – the businesses for donating such amazing prizes and the people who came for buying so many raffle tickets.

The Outcome

The greatest outcome of the night was that it was super fun! It was the best possible send off I could have imagined to start this PhD – surrounded and supported by my community. I was truly blown away by the amount of money raised and can’t wait to get some trail counters with that money. I feel so good to be doing this work and to have so much community support. It means more than I could ever possibly express in this little blog.

Berry the Bear went tubing at Mt Norquay on a busy Saturday afternoon. Some strange looks to say the least. But worth it!

Grizzly Research in the Rockies – the non-profit organization

I struggled with what to do with the money raised from the fundraiser, putting it into the chequing account of Sarah Elmeligi just didn’t feel right. I wanted to make sure that I was transparent and accountable with how these funds are spent. Given the generosity of my community to support this research, I feel responsible to spend that money in a way that will continue to build that trust.

So I started a new non-profit organization, Grizzly Research in the Rockies (GRR). GRR’s mission is to effectively engage the greater Mountain Parks community in grizzly bear research efforts throughout the Rocky Mountain National Parks. GRR’s main activity is to involve volunteers in data collection and awareness building activities. By training volunteers in robust scientific data collection and then empowering them to share their experiences, they can help to spread awareness regarding grizzly bear research efforts and their applications to grizzly bear management. 

GRR has an email address: I’m looking for volunteers for this coming field season. If you’re interested, please email me there and I’ll add you to the list.

Complete list of donors to the raffle Crossfit Canmore – 10 punch pass Mountain Motorrad – Women’s Klim Technical Jersey Laura Marshal Designs – handmade bracelet and earings Lululemon – Yoga starter pack Back At It Massage – 1 hour massage The North Face – hydration back pack Patagonia – day pack and base layer items Valhalla Pure Outfitters – bear spray cans The Body Shop – Shea Butter gift pack and small toiletry give away bags at the door Mountain Exposure – Outdoor Research jackets and Icebreaker base layers John Marriott photography – photographs of bears Hendrick Boesch photography – photograph of bear Rocky Mountain Soap Co – box of mixed soap and creams The Yoga Lounge – 10 punch pass Canmore Nordic Centre – skiing day passes ReFocus Pilates – Intro Apprenticeship package Icebreaker Canada – Base layers Canmore Folk Festival – weekend folk fest tickets Mt Norquay Ski Resort – all-inclusive lift tickets Kevin Van Tighem – Bears Superguide books and Home Range book Communitea cafe – the space, the bartending, and a personal tea pack Bicycle Cafe – gift certificate and T-shirt Grizzly Events – Ultra-marathon entry


Berry went inside many stores and took pictures there too. Here’s Berry at Lululemon checking out bags.

#community #communiteacafe #grizzlybears #fundraiser #canmorecommunity #raffleprizes



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