Just to get you dreaming . . . and thinking about your bids! Here are some of the fabulous items we’ll be auctioning off at our Annual Banquet & Auction:
A TRIP FOR TWO TO THE GALAPAGOS
The Ultimate Naturalist Adventure!
Experience the rare life forms in these remote islands that helped Charles Darwin formulate his theory of evolution. Many of the islands are nearly unchanged when The Beagle visited them in 1835. Expect to encounter tortoises, iguanas and an amazing diversity of birds and sea mammals. This week-long trip will take place on one of Ecoventura’s signature yachts, the MV ORIGIN, the newest and most comfortable 20-passenger premium-class yacht in Galapagos. (Check out a fabulous video tour of the MV ORIGIN here!) The vessel was custom built in Ecuador in 2016 and is operated by Ecoventura, a recognized leader in sustainable tourism, offering life-enriching experiences on expedition vessels since 1990.
The cruise includes your accommodation in a deluxe stateroom, all meals, snacks and beverages (open bar), guided shore excursions and briefings, transfers from dock to ship in the islands, use of snorkeling equipment, kayaks, paddle boards and wets suits for the trip are all provided. The Galapagos have some of the most outstanding snorkeling on the planet! Several highly-trained guides are on each boat offering top-notch interpretation. Ecoventura receives very high marks from Yelp and TripAdvisor. Airfare and hotel accommodations before and after the cruise in Ecuador not included.
Thank you to Ecoventura! Value: $15,000.
KETTLEHOUSE AMPHITHEATER SEASON PASS
The golden ticket.
Access to ALL concerts at the new Kettlehouse Amphitheater for one year! For concertgoers seeking a unique outdoor live music experience, there are few venues better than the new KettleHouse Amphitheater. Located adjacent to the award-winning KettleHouse Brewery, and nestled on the banks of the Blackfoot River, the 4,000-person-capacity Amphitheater provides artists and concertgoers a uniquely Montana entertainment experience.
Thank you to Logjam Presents. Value: Priceless!
An Outstanding Owl Experience
You’ve read about him in National Geographic and the New York Times; perhaps you’ve watched a feature on his Snowy Owl research on BBC’s Frozen Planet. Spend an unforgettable day in the field, a short distance from Missoula, with renowned owl researcher and naturalist Denver Holt. Learn about ongoing research, adaptations, and habitats, and observe Owl Research Institute researchers capture and band owls in the wild. Tours generally leave from the Missoula or Kalispell areas, depending on customer preference and where the best opportunities are at any given time. This unique day is for up to four people and takes place in winter 2017-2018. This is a terrific natural history experience with a true expert, a great teacher, and an all-around fun guy. Many thanks to Denver Holt. Value: $1,000.
Taste of India: Curry, Chutney, and More for Eight
The great chefs at Masala will bring the pleasing aromas of Indian cuisine into your home or the home of Wayne Chamberlain and Betsy Grimley (who has the most incredible collection of antique purses you’ve ever seen!). The journey starts with organic ingredients sourced from local Montana ranchers and farmers to achieve distinct flavors of dishes like tandoori chicken, daal, or coconut chickpea curry. All served with falafel and naan. Wayne and Betsy have an excellent wine cellar and have chosen an array of viognier wines (a famous white wine grape variety) that will pair nicely with this meal. Thank you to Masala and Betsy Grimley and Wayne Chamberlain. Value: Priceless!
“Optimism” Artfully Captured by Don Jones
The name says it all. Take this inspiring photo of the majestic American Bison home with you! This limited-edition signed photograph measures 36” x 54”. Don is a Montana-based wildlife photographer specializing in all forms of nature photography. He has more than 600 magazine covers to his name and his photos have appeared in numerous national publications including Field & Stream, Time, Outdoor Life, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated! His work is authentic and his message is “Keep the ‘Wild’ in Wildlife.” Don currently resides in the small town of Troy, Montana, with his wife and soulmate, Tess. Thank you to Don Jones. Value: $895.
Yellowstone Spring: Wolf, Grizzly, and Bird Adventure
One or two people can join Hank and Carol Fischer on a four-day, three-night trip to our country’s most famous national park! Travel to the park included, as well as terrific overnight accommodations in Jack and Lilly Tuholske’s well-furnished Cooke City cabin. Hank and Carol led trips to Yellowstone for nearly a decade and know the park well. In his former life with the National Wildlife Federation and Defenders of Wildlife, Hank was closely involved with both grizzly and wolf restoration in the park. His book Wolf Wars tells the inside story of the 25-year effort to bring wolves back. Trip will take place June 3-6, 2018, THE peak week for Yellowstone large carnivore activity, as elk calves—primary wolf and bear prey—will be newly born. Also a great time to see unique birds including Harlequin Ducks, Peregrine Falcons, and Great Gray Owls. Thank you to the Tuholske’s and Carol and Hank Fischer. Value: Priceless!
A Painting That’s Out of This World
If you thought the eclipse was cool, you will love this. “Cosmos” is an original art piece that’s part of Nancy Seiler’s newest collection of acrylic paintings. Nancy is a certified Golden Artist Educator as well as a classical botanical illustrator certified by the Denver Botanic Gardens Botanical Illustration Program. She teaches as a guest artist in the Missoula County Public Schools for Spark! Arts Ignite Learning, and leads art workshops from her studio in Missoula, Montana, and abroad. We’re also lucky enough to have Nancy teach a variety of nature journaling workshops at MNHC!
Thank you to Nancy Seiler. Value: $3,500.
Luxe Getaway for Two: The Ranch at Rock Creek
This spectacular lodge at the headwaters of Rock Creek is the world’s only Forbes Travel Guide five-star guest ranch. It’s also listed by the National Geographic Society as one of the “Unique Lodges of the World.” It may be the nicest lodge in Montana. Take your choice of an elegant suite in the Granite Lodge or a classic creek-side canvas “glamping” cabin. Your two-night stay for two people includes world-class meals each day featuring premium wine, beer, and spirits.
Feeling adventuresome? Also included with this package are any two guided activities per person (gear included). These activities include horseback riding, fly fishing, a horse-drawn sleigh ride, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and downhill skiing at Discovery Basin. Valid dates: October 1, 2017-June 7, 2018 (blackout dates: November 22-26, 2017; December 21, 2017-January 2, 2018; and seasonal celebration weekends unless noted at time of booking). Thank you to the Ranch at Rock Creek. Value: $4,800.
A Feast with the Mayor
Not only does John Engen like to eat, he likes to cook! This dinner for eight at Hank and Carol Fischer’s home will be an extravaganza of haute cuisine: a cold soup starter, followed by a grilled Caesar salad and grilled chicken-leg lollipops, a main course of coffee-rubbed beef brisket accompanied by potato salad with seven-minute eggs, bleu cheese, and bacon slaw, finished off with lemon cake dessert. And while John no longer partakes, wine pairings and other adult beverages will supplement the meal. This is your chance to have Mayor Engen serve you a meal while you discuss potholes, naked bike rides, and other pressing city issues. Count on an event filled with good humor. Dinner will be scheduled sometime in June 2018. Thank you to Mayor John Engen and Hank and Carol Fischer. Value: Priceless!
Alberton Birding with Erick Greene
Back by popular demand! Join hosts Gary Fee and Jo Burris at their beautiful home and property overlooking the Clark Fork River near Alberton to enjoy an incredible day of birding and nature observation, as well as a delicious meal for four. UM biology professor and bird guru Erick Greene will share fascinating facts about birds while you explore the riparian habitat. Depending on the time of year, the feathered splendors you may observe include grosbeaks; Downy, Hairy, and Pileated Woodpeckers; Bald Eagles; Osprey; hawks; falcons; and Great Horned Owls. And if you come in late May, the wildflowers are incredible, with an entire hill covered in bitterroots and scarlet gilias. Gary and Jo will contact the winning bidder to design a custom meal course by course. Wine pairings will also be selected at this time from the Fees’ extensive wine collection. Thank you to Gary Fee and Jo Burris and Erick Greene. Value: Priceless.
A Locavore’s Foodie Package
If you love locally-sourced food, this item is for you! Enjoy a whole lamb, 30 pounds of ground beef, and a half Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share. The lamb is raised just a few miles from town on the Maclay Ranch (homesteaded in 1880, they’ve been in the sheep business for four generations). You will get a delectable whole lamb that’s cut, wrapped, and frozen. The Maclays pride themselves on all-natural grazing, non-chemical weed control, and the use of guard dogs and llamas for predator control. Mannix Beef is providing 30 pounds of natural grass-finished ground beef raised in the pristine Blackfoot Valley. We are confident that you will find their beef to be of the highest quality: tender, flavorful, and simply good for you.
And don’t forget your veggies! Garden City Harvest and Youth Homes have generously donated a half CSA share which entitles you to 18 weeks (and more than 150 pounds) of delicious vegetables: tomatoes, corn, potatoes, carrots, beets, chard, basil, cucumbers, radishes, leeks, lettuce, broccoli, kale—and more! Enjoy your weekly supply of veggies from early June through late September. YUM. Thank you to the Maclay Ranch, Mannix Family Grass-Finished Beef, Youth Homes, and Garden City Harvest. Value: $800.
Explore MPG Ranch by Horse-Drawn Wagon
If you are up for the most unique of outdoor adventures, this is it. Dick Clemow and his team of stunning Belgian horses will treat ten people to a comfortable wagon ride around the MPG Ranch near Florence, a largely undeveloped landscape of nearly 9,500 acres. Your tour guide will be Joshua Lisbon, education manager at the ranch. The mission of the ranch is to conduct research that helps to restore and protect native diversity.
During your tour of the Ranch, Joshua will update you on the current research topics, which range from eagles to insects. In addition, avian scientist Kate Stone will share some of the bird-related research projects taking place on the Bitterroot River floodplain, with a special emphasis on Lewis’s Woodpeckers. Participants will also be able to visit either a hummingbird or songbird banding station to spend an hour up close and personal with some of the floodplain’s feathered residents.
A ranch-style lunch will be served including delicious home-brewed beer made by Joshua. This outing can take place in May through mid-July 2018, at a peak time for bird activity. Thanks to Dick Clemow; Forest Forever Horselogging, LLC; the Pattee Canyon Carriage Company; MPG Ranch; Kate Stone; and Joshua Lisbon. Value: Priceless!
A Day for Eagles, Birdies, and Dinner
Golf enthusiasts, please take note. You and your fellow linksters can enjoy golf for four (cart included) followed by a fabulous dinner at The Ranch Club. You’ll be challenged by this Les Furber-designed golf course, which features rolling slopes, curving hillsides, and remarkable water features. The course has been strategically designed to maintain natural topography and pre-existing wildlife habitat. This is a links experience, which presents unique hazards while providing an enjoyable layout for novices, seniors, and juniors alike. Excludes alcohol and must be used by December 31, 2018. Thank you to The Ranch Club. Value: $600.
A Spotting Scope to See Like an Eagle
Visualize yourself at Freezout Lake, trying to find a European Widgeon in a sea of ducks. Or maybe searching for grizzly bears and wolves in Yellowstone Park. Or perhaps it’s opening day of elk season and you’re scanning a hillside on the next mountain a half mile away, hoping to see a set of antlers or a white rump patch. In either situation, this Leupold 15-30×50 spotting scope could be your best friend. It’s the perfect spotting scope to take into the field because it’s compact and lightweight. It features crisp resolution with HD lenses and a lifetime guarantee. It’s highly rated by birders and hunters alike. In short, an essential piece of outdoor equipment. Thanks to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Value: $700.
Enjoy a Flathead Lake Summer Condo
Enjoy a two-night stay on scenic Flathead Lake in a three bedroom/two bathroom condo located in Lakeside. It’s a terrific spot for a group of adults or two families. The condo also has an outdoor pool and hot tub with a great beach close by. An excellent spot for boating as well, and includes gift certificates to When in Rome in Bigfork and Tamarack Brewery in Lakeside! Must be redeemed in summer of 2018. Thank you to Dawn Larkey, Tamarack Brewing, and Kim and Reed Humphrey. Value: $800.
Animal House Party – In Your House.
Toga, Toga, Toga!!!! A generation of people had their lives significantly affected by the movie Animal House, starring John Belushi, when it first came out 38 years ago. Now you can return to those glory days in the safe confines of your own home, with toga or without, with your best friends (maximum 20). Mark Metcalf, who played Douglas C. Neidermeyer, Sergeant at Arms, will come to your home and tell behind-the-scenes stories about the making of the movie and the wild history of the cast and crew during the making of the film (plus what has happened to them since!). Appetizers and pizza graciously provided by The Depot. Big Sky Brewing has also graciously donated a case of beer. You bring the righteous attitude. Thank you to Mark Metcalf, The Depot, and Big Sky Brewing. Value: Incalculable.
Whale Watching and Sea Kayaking in Baja
This trip, which has been experienced and enjoyed by many people, may well be the MNHC auction favorite! The winning bidder gets his or her choice of whale watching or sea kayaking, both in the Pacific Ocean near La Paz, Mexico. Here are the options:
1) Two people can spend four days/three nights experiencing the breathtaking wildlife of Magdalena Bay, a special reserve for the protection of the Pacific gray whale. The whales migrate here (between late January and early May) to court, breed, and give birth. From La Paz you’ll be taken to a beautiful bay-side beach camp nestled in the dunes. Daily excursions into the bay provide close-up encounters of the magnificent and friendly gray whale. Motorized skiffs, skillfully and sensitively operated by local boatmen, are used for whale-watching excursions. Other activities may include bird watching, kayaking in the mangrove estuaries, and evening presentations by trained naturalists. Trip includes meals, drinks, and all equipment.
2) Two people can kayak and camp for four nights/three days on Espiritu Santo Island where you can explore beautiful white sand beaches and canyons adorned with hanging fig trees, and snorkel with friendly sea lions and tropical fish. Enjoy hiking, paddling, snorkeling, and fishing. Motorized support skiffs provide a safe and luxurious sea kayaking excursion. Trip includes meals, drinks, and all equipment and can be scheduled in the fall or winter. Thank you to Sea and Adventures, Inc. Value: $2,000.
Five Course Dinner and Wine Pairing for Eight at Plonk
Gather eight of your nearest and dearest friends and take them to PLONK, Missoula’s most elegant bistro. Ben Burda and his staff will serve you a delectable five-course dinner with wine pairings for each course, served by the best trained and most dedicated staff in town. PLONK prides itself on serving only the best food with the best local ingredients. The specific menu will be determined by the season and local availability. Find out what “Plonk” actually means and experience a culinary sensation that can rarely be found outside of San Francisco, Seattle, or New York. Served in Plonk’s special Wine Cellar room, this is a very special way to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or any other special occasion. Guaranteed to sensationalize your taste buds and create a truly memorable evening with friends. Value: $1,500.
Fly Like An Eagle Over the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness
Pilot Tom Philips has been flying around Montana and the world for decades. On this excursion he’ll take three lucky passengers on an aerial tour of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, which has been called “the most pristine wilderness area in the contiguous United States.” The tour includes a stop for lunch at the West Fork Lodge, which has its own landing strip. After lunch, you’ll enjoy a flight north over the wilderness one more time before returning to Missoula. Another option: if you are a serious hunter, this aerial adventure can be turned into an elk scouting mission. Tom is willing to fly anywhere within a 50-mile radius of Missoula, low but at a safe level as you search for concentrations of the wily wapiti. A great way to get the blood pumping prior to hunting season! Thank you to Tom Philips and the West Fork Lodge. Value: Priceless, but let’s call it $1,000.
WHITEFISH SKI & STAY
Calling all powder hounds!
Snow lovers, this one is for you! Enjoy a full week stay at Crestwood Resort in Whitefish, only a short 1.5 miles from Whitefish Mountain Resort. The spacious condo comfortably sleeps eight (two bedroom/two bath with a queen bed in the master bedroom, two twin beds in the second bedroom, and two sofas in the living room, one of which is a queen hide-a-bed). Each unit is newly refurbished with a washer/dryer, cable TV, gas or wood fireplace and a fully-equipped kitchen to make things nice and easy during your stay. After a day on the slopes, you can soak in the outdoor hot tub or swim in the heated pool! This package includes two full-day adult lift tickets for Whitefish Mountain. Available dates: January 12th-19th, 2018, during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, making this the perfect week to get away!
Thank you to Wayne Chamberlain and Betsy Grimly and Whitefish Mountain Resort. Value: $2,500.
A Taste of Italy at Caffe Dolce: Wine Tasting and Appetizers for Eight.
When daydreaming about the most iconic Italian wines, we picture sweeping hills, terraced vineyards, incredible cheeses, and superb cuisine. These images find their fullest expression through the grapes of varied regions of Italy. Enjoy a wine tasting for eight with Caffe Dolce wine director Jerod Peitsmeyer. Dolce will present incredible tasters accompanied by an amazing array of appetizers. Date must be agreed upon in advance; no Friday use. Thank you to Peter Lambros, Jerod Peitsmeyer, and Caffe Dolce. Value: $500.
A Rockin’ Birthday Party with Real Animals
Be your child’s superhero and throw them the birthday party of their dreams with live music and animals! The party includes a performance by one of Missoula’s favorite rock bands, the Salamanders, an animal presentation by Animal Wonders, and a cake from Costco! The party can take place at the Montana Natural History Center or you can host it in your own home. The Salamanders know how to get kids clapping their hands and dancing to their fun, whimsical music. Animal Wonders will bring its zoo to the party so your child and their friends can talk to a parrot, touch a snake, and meet a Patagonian cavy (it’s like a big rabbit!). The party is for up to 20 kids. Valid through September 2018. If hosted at MNHC, must be coordinated three months prior to party date. Big thanks to the Salamanders, Animal Wonders, and Costco. Value: Priceless!