Win Big Prizes and Get NLWS a New Truck!

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How would a gorgeous, gigantic acrylic print of one of my grizzly bear photographs look hanging in your house or office? Or perhaps you’d rather win a trip for two to a grizzly bear viewing lodge in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada?

Raise your paw if you’d like to help rehab orphaned grizzly bear cubs AND win some amazing prizes!

That’s right, everyone, it’s FUNDRAISER time! And once again we’re giving away a pile of prizes for donations to my beloved Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter (NLWS) in Smithers, British Columbia (the only grizzly bear rehabilitation facility on the planet — they have successfully rehabbed and released 18 grizzly cubs to date, along with more than 350 black bears!), so that they can continue saving bears from around the province (and beyond, if officials in Alberta, Montana, and Wyoming start cooperating as public pressure mounts to save orphaned grizzly bear cubs).

This time around, the NLWS is in desperate need of a new truck for transporting bear cubs to and from their rescue locations. The old truck is on its final legs (actually, it’s more like it’s on life support at this point) and for the past month, the NLWS has been running an indiegogo campaign to raise $40,000 Canadian dollars for the purchase of a new truck capable of driving long distances and towing bear trailers. While the campaign has been successful to a degree (it has raised $12,050 to this point on August 17th), it remains far short of its ultimate goal.

However, it’s not quite as bleak as it may seem, because rather than having to raise $28,000 more in the final week of the campaign, we only have to raise $13,000 ($10,000 less than what our original NLWS fundraiser raised back in April 2014!). The other $15,000 is going to come courtesy of the amazing British animal charity, Hauser Bears, which has agreed to match the first $15,000 in the campaign dollar-for-dollar, meaning if we can raise another $3,000 in the next five days, Hauser Bears will instantly chip in $15,000 Canadian towards the end goal of raising $40,000!

But we’re not setting our sights on just raising that extra $3,000; rather, we’re aiming for the full $40K, which means we need to raise $13,000 in five days.

And this is where we step in with a slew of prizes so amazing that it will make it even more worth your while to donate to this incredible cause.

How to Donate to Help Orphaned Grizzly Cubs

Here’s how it’s going to work for the donations (and note that because the NLWS is a non-profit charitable organization, ALL Canadian donators will be provided with a tax receipt for their donation):

[Note: All donations will be through Canada Helps rather than via the indiegogo campaign, as the NLWS has to pay 9% on all indiegogo donations and we’d much rather they keep that 9% for the new truck! You can donate to the General campaign for NLWS, or directly to the Going the Extra Mile for Wildlife campaign from the drop-down menu — both will be used for the prize draws]

Donate $50 — automatic entry to win any of prizes below (including any of the Grand Prizes) in a random draw administered by NLWS staff on Monday, August 24th.

Donate $50-$499 — one entry for every $50 you donate  for the Grand Prizes listed below (for instance, donate $250 and get 5 entries into the draw for any of the Grand Prizes listed below), and one entry to win any of the other prizes below.

Donate $500 or more — two entries for every $50 you donate for the Grand Prizes listed below (for instance, donate $750 and get 15 entries into the draw for any of the Grand Prizes listed below), and one entry to win any of the other prizes below.

Highest Donation — win a Day in the Field with me, photographing grizzlies or wolves, or whatever you want to try to find, from dawn till dusk in the Canadian Rockies in 2016 (dates and locations to be arranged between myself and the highest donator). This prize will also be transferrable, if you choose.

So the bottom line is, if you want to win ANY of these amazing prizes, then donating a mere $50 gets you into the game for the Grand Prizes and gets you equal odds for any of the other prizes. And the more you donate, the better your chances are for the Grand Prizes or for the Day in the Field with me.

The Prizes

[Note: these prizes are available to all donators, including those outside the US and Canada]

Grand Prize #1 – a 2-night/3-day All-inclusive Bear Viewing Trip for Two to the Great Bear Chalet in Bella Coola, British Columbia in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. I’ve personally photographed grizzlies in the Bella Coola area five times in the past decade and have to say that this is one of the premier grizzly bear photography and viewing locations in the world. Thanks to the generosity of owner Jefferson Bray, this trip will include airport shuttle to and from the Bella Coola Airport (if required), transportation/fuel costs for all excursions, accommodation (private suite with 3-piece bath), gourmet meals prepared with local, fresh ingredients, and professionally guided bear tours (all Guides are accredited members of the Commercial Bear Viewing Association of B.C.).
Value: $2400 Cdn.

The Grand Prize: an all-inclusive Trip for Two to the Great Bear Chalet in Bella Coola, British Columbia

Grand Prize #2 – a 30″x45″ glossy acrylic print of ‘All in the Family’, one of my most popular grizzly bear prints. Ready to hang and shipped right to your door anywhere in Canada or the U.S. (and for those of you outside of Canada or the U.S., we’ll figure out a way to get the print to you, too, though it may be a regular non-acrylic print to make shipping easier).
Value: $1095 Cdn.

Win a 30″x45″ glossy acrylic print of All in the Family by John E. Marriott

Highest Donation: Day in the Field with me, photographing grizzlies or wolves, or whatever you want to try to find, from dawn till dusk in the Canadian Rockies in 2016 (dates and locations to be arranged between myself and the highest donator). This prize will also be transferrable, if you choose.

The Highest Donation wins a Day in the Field with me chasing grizzlies and wolves and whatever else we can find!

All Other Prizes:

One full set of signed and personalized John E. Marriott coffee table books, including Banff & Lake Louise: Images of Banff National Park, Wildlife of the Canadian Rockies: A Glimpse at Life on the Wild Side, and The Canadian Rockies: Banff, Jasper & Beyond. Value: $100 Cdn.

A full set of coffee table books by John E. Marriott

12″x18″ glossy print of Grizz Family Bums by Banff/UK wildlife photographer Cai Priestley (visit Cai’s website or follow him on Facebook or Instagram). Value: $150 Cdn.

12″x18″ Glossy Print of Grizz Family Bums by Cai Priestley

12″x18″ glossy print of Startled Cub by Banff/UK wildlife photographer Cai Priestley (visit Cai’s website or follow him on Facebook or Instagram). Value: $150 Cdn.

12″x18″ Glossy Print of Startled Cub by Cai Priestley

12″x18″ stretched canvas of Tuxedo Cubs by Canmore wildlife photographer Brandon T. Brown (visit Brandon’s website or follow him on Facebook or Instagram). Value: $200 Cdn.

12″x18″ Stretched Canvas of Tuxedo Cubs by Brandon T. Brown

12″x18″ stretched canvas of Mister Mud by Canmore wildlife photographer Brandon T. Brown (visit Brandon’s website or follow him on Facebook or Instagram). Value: $200 Cdn.

12″x18″ Stretched Canvas of Mister Mud by Brandon T. Brown

16″x24″ glossy print of any of my grizzly bear images, your choice! Value: $225 Cdn.

16″x24″ glossy print of any of my grizzly bear images, your choice! Value: $225 Cdn.

24″x36″ glossy print of any of my grizzly bear images, your choice! Value: $450 Cdn.

24″x36″ glossy print of any of my grizzly bear images, your choice! Value: $450 Cdn.

The Thinker by John E. Marriott — 16″x24″ and 24″x36″ prints available to be won

Please consider donating today: the fundraiser ends at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, August 21st, 2015. All draws will be made by NLWS staff on Monday, August 24th, with winners announced on this blog at that time.

Thank you to everyone involved, particularly to those of who have donated items or money to this worthy cause. And a very special thank you to the wonderful and amazing staff at the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter, we can’t wait to see you riding around in your new truck soon (though we hope it’s not because more cubs have to be rescued)!

[UPDATE on Day 3 — we’re now halfway through the fundraiser and we’ve raised just over half of our goal of $13,000. Please keep those donations coming in, we need another $6,500 in the final two and a half days!]

News and Notes & A Dramatic Bear Rescue

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Fresh on the heels of a wonderful trip to the subarctic to photograph tundra colours, northern lights and the Qamanirjuaq caribou herd in Nunavut (my wife and I got back late last night), I’m at home for just two more days before my next fall trip, my Spirit Bear Photo Tour to the Great Bear Rainforest.

In the meantime, some news for those of you following along on the blog to get you up-to-date on summer happenings and what’s in store for the rest of 2014 and 2015, along with the story of a dramatic bear rescue near Golden, BC on Thursday.

I did two test trips this summer to new locations in the hopes of starting up photo tours to them for Summer 2015.  The first was to Somerset Island in the arctic at 74 degrees north (!!), almost 800 kilometers above the arctic circle.  The trip was designed to coincide with the arrival of thousands of beluga whales in the inlet next to our lodge, but unfortunately the pack ice was a week late this year and we did not get to see even a single beluga.  Fortunately, though, the island was packed with all kinds of other interesting flora and fauna which we focused on in the 24 hours of daylight, including muskox, arctic hare, arctic fox (we had a den with 13 pups in it!), and snowy owls.

The vast landscapes of Somerset Island in the high arctic are home to hundreds of muskox

The trip was loved by everyone in my group and I’ve already begun arranging two dates for next summer (though slightly later in July and at the start of August to make sure we also catch the belugas). If this kind of trip interests you and you’re fit and willing to raft, ride atvs, and hike 6-10 kilometers a day with your gear, then please go indicate your interest in next year’s trips over on my tour website’s contact form and I’ll then keep you posted on 2015 trip itinerary, dates, and costs when they come available. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go with a small photo group to the high arctic and I wouldn’t be going back if I didn’t think it was worth the time and money!

Following the arctic trip, I whizzed off to Smithers, BC with the two winners of my fundraising contest for the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter. Noriko Hessmann and Katie Mooney from Edmonton, Alberta were the lucky winners, and they were treated to quite a show at the shelter. They got to bottle-feed a baby deer, play with two baby beavers, watch a feeding of six baby black bears (from a hidden location so the bears couldn’t see them) and a grizzly bear cub, and take part in the wild release of a flock of ducks and four baby foxes.  It was quite the whirlwind weekend, and for those of you that fly with Central Mountain Air or Hawkair in British Columbia, you’ll get to read all about it in the Northern Routes in-flight magazine this fall.

Noriko Hessmann feeding Brock, a baby deer being rehabilitated at the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter

In early August I headed back to Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) for my fifth landscape photography workshop in the Purcell Mountains south of Golden, BC. Once again it was sold out and once again, we visited areas that had my mouth agape in wonder. It truly is one of the most spectacular wild areas in British Columbia and if you feel like being whisked around in a helicopter like a rock star so you can take photos from this ridge and that one, then stay tuned for details on next year’s workshop in the coming weeks.

My 2014 photo group at CMH in front of some of the ugly scenery in the area

Shortly after I got back from CMH, I got a call from Angelika at the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter in Smithers, BC asking me if I’d like to be involved in the release of a grizzly cub called Littlefoot back into the wild. Angelika and the International Fund for Animal Welfare needed someone to take photographs and video of the release for national and international media, so I hired my buddy Hendrik Boesch and we traveled deep into the wilderness north of Fernie, BC with two Conservation Officers and the NLWS crew to release this 145-pound yearling back into the wild. It was the highlight of my year to date, which says a lot considering that I’ve been to the arctic twice already! And as usual, I simply can’t say enough good things about the shelter, which continues to be the only grizzly bear rehabilitation center on the planet. Littlefoot was the 13th grizzly bear cub they’ve released back into the wild since they started with grizzlies in 2007. If you’ve got a few dollars to spare, there isn’t a better wildlife cause to give your money to — you can donate here.

Taking part in Littlefoot’s release back into the wild was a highlight of the year so far!

Here’s a superb video that CTV News put together about Littlefoot’s release using my video footage. And here’s a great blog entry from IFAW staff about the release along with another video using my footage from the day.

Speaking of the NLWS and their fabulous work, check out the amazing day my friend and NLWS volunteer Wendy Chambers had on Thursday, September 4th when she was an integral part of a dramatic bear rescue near Golden, BC after a mother black bear was hit and killed on the Trans-Canada Highway. It’s a gripping read and again, if you want to help out with raising these cubs for their release back into the wild next spring, then please go visit the NLWS website and donate.

After the excitement of Littlefoot’s release, I did an abrupt 180 and found myself sitting poolside in Las Vegas with my wife sipping (ok, maybe chugging would be a better word) margaritas less than 24 hours after I’d been deep in the British Columbia wilderness.

This 5-day test of my liver for a friend’s 40th birthday party did little to prepare my wife and I for another quick turnaround from Vegas to the vast and extremely remote tundra we found ourselves in at Ennadai Lake in Nunavut last week for another test photo tour with clients in search of the aurora borealis and migrating caribou. The trip also proved to be a huge success, so again, if this kind of arctic trip interests you and you’re fit and willing to hike 2-4 kilometers a day with your gear (this trip doesn’t have as much hiking as the Somerset trip, but it still does require a good level of fitness), then please go indicate your interest in next year’s trips over on my tour website’s contact form and I’ll then keep you posted on the 2015 trip itinerary, dates, and costs once everything has been finalized.

A giant caribou bull checks us out on Day 5 of my early fall arctic adventure (last week) to Nunavut

The coming weeks promise to be just as frantic as this summer has been, as I’m off on Tuesday for spirit bears, followed by two weeks of grizzlies in the Chilcotin right after that. Then it’s off to Winnipeg for two days to press check my third printing of my Banff & Lake Louise book, followed by a landscape photography workshop with my pals Dave Brosha and Paul Zizka in Lake Louise from October 16th-18th, then a wildlife photography workshop in Whitehorse from October 24th-26th. I’m exhausted just thinking about it, haha!

Thanks everyone for following along, please let me know if you have any topics you’d like to see me cover on my blog in the coming months.

And for those of you on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, please be sure to follow me on those social media platforms to get photo updates and news tidbits on a regular basis (I post to Facebook 2-3x a week, to Twitter 3-4x a day, and to Instagram 1-2x a day):

Facebook: John E. Marriott Photography
Twitter: @johnemarriott
Instagram: @johnemarriott

Cheers,

John