Thank You, Montana Natural History Friends!

The party is over, but our gratitude is evergreen!

We had so much fun connecting with you through our Banquet & Auction! Whether you joined in person on Saturday, bid on our online auction, or donated to the Fund a Dream we are so grateful for the support of our wonderful community! Our 2021 Banquet & Auction is just the latest example of your generosity, and from all of us, to all of you, we thank you!

Even though the auction is over, you can still donate to the Montana Natural History Center. Donations are 100% tax deductible.

The Auction is now closed.  Thank you for your support!

Auction items can be picked up at the Banquet and Auction on September 18 or at the Montana Natural History Center after September 20 during our regular hours.

If you are not in Missoula, Montana, to pick up your auction item, you are responsible for shipping costs.

MNHC will provide a tax receipt for the amount paid above fair market value. 

We’re celebrating 30 years of connecting people with nature!

5:00 – 6:00
Welcome and Check in
Bar Open
Passed Hors d’Oeuvres
Silent Auction Bidding
Live Music by the Night Blooming Jasmines

6:00 – 7:00
Fun and Interactive Food Stations
Silent Auction Continues
Mingle with New and Old Friends

Silent Auction bidding closes
Dessert served at assigned tables
Welcome remarks
Live Auction with Auctioneer Katie Fitzsimmons

Auction Checkout

5:00 PM    



Bacon Wrapped Dates | dates stuffed with cheddar cheese and wrapped with Daily’s bacon (gf)

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup w Crème Fraiche | butternut squash roasted then blended with spices and topped with Crème Fraiche (gf) (v)

Teriyaki Chicken Skewers | grilled chicken tossed in a sweet soy teriyaki sauce

6:00 PM


Herb Watermelon Feta Salad | Fresh watermelon tossed with basil, cilantro, mint, lime, and feta for a delicious summer salad. (gf) (v)

Spanish Marinated Olives | a fun variety of olives marinated with garlic, pepper, orange zest, olive oil, and rosemary (gf) (v)

Summer Chickpea Salad with Honey Garlic Lime Vinaigrette | chickpeas, grilled corn, fresh cherry tomatoes tossed with onions and herbs and served with a honey garlic lime vinaigrette  (gf) (v)

6:30 PM


Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders | a quality beef patty topped with gouda and Daily’s bacon and served on a grilled slider bun.  Stadium fare kicked up a notch!

Asian Slaw Falafel Sliders | falafel sliders topped with a sweet and spicy Asian style slaw and served on a sweet Hawaiian slider bun. (v)

Roasted Vegetables | a delightful blend of seasoned sweet baby broccoli and sweet baby cauliflower (gf) (v)

7:00 PM


Luscious Old Fashioned Lemon Bars

Deliciously Moist Chocolate Cake

Make your FUND A DREAM donation now!

Donations made to Fund a Dream directly support our Visiting Naturalist in the Schools (VNS) Program.

What do you notice? 

This simple question has sparked curiosity in the hearts and minds of thousands of students as they use the power of observation to look closely at nature. A humble leaf on the ground turns into a rich investigation of inquiry and wonder: why does the leaf have this shape? What plant is it from? These holes remind me of bite marks—I wonder if this leaf is food for another organism? A humble leaf turns into a learning experience that transforms how kids see and interact with the world around them. Our teaching naturalists connect students, teachers, and parents with these moments in nature—creating lasting opportunities for lifelong learning in understanding and appreciating the natural world. 

 The Visiting Naturalist in the Schools (VNS) program facilitates rich experiences like this to over 1,700 students each month during the school year in the Missoula, Mission, Bitterroot, Blackfoot, and Flathead valleys. Students immerse themselves in making observations about nature, identifying patterns, learning about structure and function—all while building a mentor relationship with their teaching naturalist in the classroom and out in the field. Students learn to become scientists, naturalists, artists, and writers as they explore in a student-driven collaborative learning environment. 

For 15 years, the traditional VNS program ran strong, in large part due to the generous support from you and our community. Then the COVID-19 pandemic threw an unexpected twist in our ability to deliver in-person programming to our schools. Last year our naturalists worked tirelessly to adapt and convert in-person learning and field trips to virtual experiences. We are so proud of our team for their patience, flexibility, and hard work as they learned how to thrive in a new teaching environment amidst the challenges of working during a global pandemic. 

As schools reopen to in-person learning this year, the VNS teaching team is also committed to returning to full in-person learning. This transition back to a more traditional style of teaching doesn’t come without its challenges, but our staff is primed and ready to succeed. Your gift to the VNS program supports the vital resources we need to continue to adapt and provide the unforgettable, high-quality experiences MNHC is known for. 

Please donate generously to help our teaching naturalists and VNS program give back to our students and inspire the next generation of artists, observers, stewards, outdoor enthusiasts, effective communicators, and thoughtful citizens. 

We are thrilled to have Katie Cashman Fitzsimmons join us as our auctioneer again this year. Katie was so much fun at our 2019 auction and we can’t wait to have her back!

Katie Cashman Fitzsimmons is exactly one half of The Cashman Auctionisters, the auctioneering sisters. Her partner in crime is her younger sister Missy. After attending the Missouri Auction School together, Katie and Missy started auctioneering for charities, non-profits, organizations, and causes in 2016. Since then, they have raised over $3,000,000; allowing those groups to further the good work they each do for their communities.

Katie works as the Director for Student Affairs for the North Dakota University System as her day job and her real fulltime gig is wife to her firefighting husband Owen and mom to their three young kids, Maggie, Connor, and Tommy. Katie loves playing cards, long walks paired with a podcast, baking, and spending time with her family when she’s not raising money. Katie resides in Bismarck, North Dakota.

We have some incredible live auction items for your bidding enjoyment! You – yes, YOU – can win the items you want and/or need by bidding generously. Remember, all proceeds benefit MNHC’s mission to connect people of all ages with nature.


Check out the live auction packages in the AUCTION CATALOG!


We accept bids by proxy for live auction and Fund a Dream. Email or call 406.327.0405 for details.



Can I buy a whole table?

Yes! We seat up to 10 guests per table and you are more than welcome to purchase a whole table. You can find this option under “Buy Sponsorships” HERE.

I have trouble walking on uneven ground. Will the event be accessible to me?
The full event will take place on the concourse and party deck areas of the Ogren Park Allegiance Field.  These areas are paved and all one level.

How do I participate in your online auction?
Bidding will open on Wednesday, September 8. When you purchase a ticket for the Annual Banquet and Auction you will receive an email with instructions to create your bidding account.

Can I bid on the online auction without buying a ticket for the Banquet and Auction?
Yes, simply click here to ‘Request an Account’ and start bidding on September 8!

Will the online auction items be on display at the Banquet and Auction?
Yes! While the bidding is online, the items will be on display for you to see in person at the event.

How do I get my auction winnings? 
Auction items can be taken home from the Banquet and Auction on Septmember 18. If you are not present at the event, items can be picked up at the Montana Natural History Center during our open hours. If you are not in Missoula, Montana, to pick up your auction item, you are responsible for shipping costs.

Do you have any tips for online bidding?
We want to help you be successful in your bidding.  Take a look at our Bidder Tip Sheet, and if you still have questions, please email or call and we’ll be happy to walk you through the process.

What is the suggested attire? 
This is an outdoor event so dress comfortably for changing weather. Montana casual, relaxed, comfortable. 

Still have questions?
Please contact or call 406.327.0405.