The Glacier National Park Conservancy is kicking off a seven-week Glacier Champions campaign to raise additional money for 2015 projects in Glacier National Park.
The park submitted a $1.7 million funding request to the Conservancy for 2015, highlighting ambitious project proposals in research, education, and preservation.
The Glacier Champions campaign aims to support initiatives such as a groundbreaking research project to study wildlife connectivity across the Crown of the Continent, looking at Glacier’s role within this ecosystem and how animals use wild places across Montana, neighboring states, and up into Canada.
Other projects include improvements to the popular Trail of the Cedars, launching an expanded GIS Field Study program with area high schools and next fall’s education programming.
The campaign will run through Dec. 31.
“We invite everyone to give,” Glacier Conservancy president Mark Preiss said. “Last year, over 65 percent of our donors gave under $100. These are folks who don’t have thousands to donate financially but want to express their love of the park in a way that makes sense for them.”
People who want to be Glacier Champions can direct their gifts to the program or programs they find most compelling. For a full list of projects and to donate, visit glacierconservancy.org.
The Conservancy already is committed to giving an initial $450,000 in grant support to Glacier Park, beginning Jan. 1, 2015. The money was raised through a series of community and national engagements this year, including One Day for Glacier and Backpacker’s Ball.
“This represents an initial grant to the park of nearly $100,000 more than last year,” Preiss said. “Our community has stepped forward in a significant way, placing Glacier at the center of our philanthropic giving and our way of life.”
The money will be applied to a suite of projects, including Native America Speaks, rehabilitating the Highline Trail and developing an improved native plant nursery facility.
“There is considerable work left to be done this year to ensure that Glacier’s critical projects, whether science or trail preservation or education for future stewards can be accomplished in 2015,” Preiss said.
Visitors to Glacier next summer will feel Glacier National Park Conservancy donations in nearly every aspect of their visit, according to a news release from the Conservancy.
When they arrive at the entrance station, they will be given a free park newsletter made possible solely by Conservancy donors. Whether arriving at the west entrance and heading to the newly renovated Apgar Visitor Center (a Conservancy-supported project) or the east entrance at St. Mary to enjoy an updated amphitheater in the campground area, donor dollars will be hard at work making the visitor experience exceptional.
School children will arrive on buses funded by Conservancy grants and will be greeted by National Park Service education rangers and interns funded by the Conservancy. Visitors to campgrounds and picnic areas will enjoy additional food storage boxes. Native America Speaks will continue in 2015, its 31st year, financially supported entirely by Conservancy donors.
Behind the scenes, scientists and citizen science volunteers will monitor mountain goats, pika and loons. Grizzly bears will be studied in greater detail, including advanced DNA analysis tied to movement patterns.
In the North Fork region of the park, a new fish barrier will be constructed at Akokala Lake to preserve native bull trout and keep out invasive species. Park visitors who make the journey to Belly River Ranger Station will notice significant improvements made to that historic structure.
Glacier National Park Conservancy is the official philanthropic and outreach partner of Glacier National Park, and invests in preservation, education and research that enrich the Glacier experience.
In 2014, the Conservancy is supporting 20 projects in Glacier Park, including Glacier Youth Corps, the Apgar Visitor Center rehabilitation, the Many Glacier Bridle Path and Native America Speaks.
The Field Guide to 2015 park priorities is online at: