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:
MPG RANCH WINTER ADVENTURE AND ANIMAL TRACKING
Mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, moose, elk, fox, rodents, deer, birds. What species is your adventurous group of six most excited to track through the beautiful snowy landscape of the MPG Ranch? Located on 15,000 acres of conservation lands in the Sapphire Mountains, the MPG Ranch stewards large, undeveloped landscapes for diverse wildlife habitat and the enjoyment of future generations. The mission of the ranch is to conduct research that helps to restore and protect native diversity.
Your group of six will experience a winter day on the ranch professionally guided by Josh Lisbon, MPG Ranch Education Manager and tracker extraordinaire. Josh will customize your adventure based on your group’s species interests, snowpack, and winter travel abilities and you’ll learn first-hand knowledge not only for tracking elusive animals in this winter wonderland, but also about the MPG Ranch’s incredible research.
A ranch-style lunch courtesy of the MPG Ranch will keep you warm and fueled during your winter exploration. Must be used January 11 or 18, 2020. Thank you to Josh Lisbon and the MPG Ranch.
MNHC SUMMER CAMP GOLDEN TICKET – FOUR WEEKS
Picture this: your child or grandchild comes home after a full day of MNHC summer camp with a huge smile on her face. She’s exhausted after yet another fantastic day but she’s too excited not to tell you all about Osprey. Just that morning she had a front row seat, literally just inches away, as Montana Osprey Project researchers measured, weighed, and banded each of the three fluffy chicks. She even had the opportunity to ask the researchers her pressing questions. You smile back as you think about her joy in experiencing the wonders of science and nature.
This priceless auction item is for all parents and grandparents. This package includes registration fees and guaranteed, early registration for FOUR weeks of summer camp. That’s right, guaranteed entry! Turn off your alarm clock and relax on registration day as your special little ones will already be signed up and ready for summer camp fun.
MNHC’s full-day, week-long, nature-themed day camps are geared for preschoolers (age 4+) through 5th grade. Participants are grouped by the grade they are entering in the fall, which allows us to design age-appropriate nature-based activities. Donated by MNHC.
UNFORGETTABLE BOB MARSHALL PACK TRIP
The robust smells of campfire coffee and fresh mountain air will wake you as you stir from your cot and step out of the tent into a crisp, Montana wilderness morning. This is just the start of your day in the wilderness that will include a variety of activities from adventure to relaxation.
Bob Marshall Wilderness Outfitters is offering one spot on their incredible seven-day, six-night wilderness pack trip to Young’s Creek and the South Fork of the Flathead in the Bob, one of the most completely preserved mountain ecosystems in the world. You will experience spectacular scenery and fishing that most people can only imagine. You’ll visit the historic Big Prairie Ranger Station for a tour of this historic ranch in the heart of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. The horses and mules are well trained and you will be matched to the appropriate riding animal based on your experience. This trip will be August 27 – September 2, 2020. Thank you to Mack and Connie Long.
SCARLET PAINTBRUSH PAINTING BY NANCY SEILER
This original acrylic painting was created exclusively for this Montana Natural History Center auction. Nancy, a GOLDEN Working Artist for GOLDEN Artist Colors in San Diego and Montana, paints from her studio in Missoula and holds workshops in nature journaling, acrylic painting, and watercolor painting. She is also a classical botanical illustrator certified through the Denver Botanic Gardens Botanical Illustration Program. The painting measures 24″x 24″. Thank you to Nancy Seiler.
TUCSON, ARIZONA, DESERT GETAWAY FOR 12
This incredible package is ideal for your next family reunion, friends’ trip, or any other special getaway to explore a part of the Southwest that delivers adventure, relaxation, and tasty food in spades. Located near the base of Mount Lemmon outside of Tucson, Arizona, you will enjoy a seven-day, six-night stay at an exquisite home that includes a chef’s kitchen, pool, hot tub, wood-fired pizza oven and six bedrooms.
The home is just a few miles from Saguaro National Park and Coronado National Forest, putting you in an ideal location to explore the unique and picturesque high desert landscape. This package is for up to 12 guests and also includes four complimentary passes to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
This amazing experience is currently available April 20 – October 26, 2020, November 30 – December 21, 2020 or December 27, 2020 – January 9, 2021 and must be used by January 9, 2021. Availability subject to change. Please contact Owen Gue for the most up-to-date availability (firstname.lastname@example.org, 406-370-7601). Thank you to Anya and Owen Gue and The Cycling House. Value: $8,000.
OUTDOOR CONCRETE FIRE PIT FROM FREESTONE CONCRETE WORKS
Enjoy the Montana outdoors all year long! Freestone Concrete Works is proud to offer an exquisite modern concrete fire table that is guaranteed to be a showcase piece on any patio. This fire table has been artistically crafted by George King, owner of Freestone Concrete Works, specifically for the MNHC auction and comes with an adjustable key valve for regulating flame levels for either natural gas or propane. This turn-key piece is produced from the finest materials that will maintain a unique and timeless look for years to come. This fire table will enhance your outdoor space and is great for entertaining guests with warmth and glow year-round. Thank you to George King. Value $4,000.
REJUVENATE AT THE MOUNTAIN SKY GUEST RANCH
Enjoy a memorable two-night stay for two adults at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, located in southwestern Montana on nearly 9,000 acres of beautiful rugged countryside, less than an hour from Yellowstone National Park. This spectacular ranch offers world-class fine dining, cozy accommodations, and a range of activities intended to revive, rejuvenate, and reconnect. The package includes accommodations, all meals, gratuities, and access to all ranch activities and facilities. Mountain Sky Guest Ranch tops the list of the nation’s upscale ranch resorts. Must be used May 26 – May 31 or August 23 – October 4, 2020, subject to availability. Thank you to Mountain Sky Guest Ranch.
FIVE-STAR GUEST RANCH VACATION 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 creekside canvas “glamping” cabin. Your two-night stay for two people includes world-class meals each day featuring premium wine, beer, and spirits.
Feeling adventuresome? Included with this package are any two guided activities per person (gear included). Activities include horseback riding, fly fishing, horse-drawn sleigh ride, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and downhill skiing at Discovery Basin. Blackout dates: Dec 21, 2019-Jan 2, 2020; May 21-26, 2020; June 29–July 6; September 3-8. Based on availability. Must be used by October 13, 2020. Thank you to the Ranch at Rock Creek.
PRIVATE DINNER FOR 8 WITH UM PRESIDENT SETH BODNAR
University of Montana President Seth Bodnar and Dr. Chelsea Bodnar, will host a dinner for eight lucky guests at the President’s house. Seth, who graduated from West Point, has held many titles. He’s a Rhodes and Truman Scholar, a former Army Ranger and Green Beret, a senior executive at General Electric and is now serving as the University of Montana’s 19th president. Chelsea is a Harvard-educated pediatrician who is also a Rhodes and Truman scholar. Could be some extremely interesting dinner conversation!
Your dinner will feature a customized, multi-course menu compliments of renowned local chef Dominic Glenna, owner of A Moveable Feast. Chef Dominic creates unforgettable experiences, and he’ll bring his passion for food to your table with his commitment to fresh and delicious dining using the season’s harvest as well as locally sourced proteins, dairy, and grains. Each course will be paired with delicious wine provided by Osito Wine Distributing. The dinner will take place in March 2020. Thank you to Seth and Chelsea Bodnar, Dominic and Mindy Glenna, and Michael Grisley.
GOURMET DINNER AND PRIVATE GUIDED TOUR FOR TEN AT LINCOLN’S “SCULPTURE IN THE WILD” ART PARK
The park’s resident artist will lead a half-mile stroll through the woods to see and discuss the dozen or more huge sculpture pieces crafted by noted international artists. It’s a highly creative and evocative display of the environmental and industrial heritage of the Blackfoot Valley that will stimulate your imagination. The dinner will take place inside one of the art pieces: a replica of a tipi burner, once used by sawmills to burn waste wood.
This dinner for 10 will be prepared by Marianne Forrest, former chef/owner of the Hob Nob and Marianne’s at the Wilma and creator of Missoula’s Underground Dinner Club whose 300 members respond to menus and then gather to eat in unusual locations. Marianne is graciously donating her time and expertise to further MNHC’s good work and hopes the bidding will be generous. The menu will feature four courses, starting with whole poached salmon, peanut noodles, and garden greens. Next, a wild mushroom risotto with baby kale and mung bean, followed by wild bird confit on small toasts with huckleberry chutney. The final course will be individual strawberry pavlovas. All courses will be accompanied with specially selected wines. The art park’s resident artist will join the group for dinner, as will Becky Garland, the board chair of the nonprofit that manages the park. Guaranteed memorable!
Winning bidders will meet at MNHC at 2:30 p.m on July 8, take one of our minibuses to the art park, and return by 9:30 p.m. Thank you to Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild International Park and Marianne Forrest.
ADVENTURE IN BAJA: ESCAPE THE COLD AND ENJOY NATURE!
For several years, Montana-owned Sea and Adventures Inc. has provided MNHC supporters with incredible whale watching and sea kayaking opportunities by donating “quick getaway” trips of three or four days. Their trips have earned rave reviews from all participants – ask anyone who has gone! This year they have upped their donation by providing space for two people to enjoy any Sea and Adventures trip of EIGHT days or fewer. Here’s a quick overview of three fabulous options (go to kayakbaja.com for full details):
- Island Kayaking and Marine Wildlife. Includes snorkeling, nature walks, fishing, turtle release, and whale sharks (all contingent on seasonality).
- Espirito Santo Wildlife Expedition. Sea kayaking, snorkeling, whale sharks, sea lions, hiking, fishing, and turtle release.
- Whales and Desert Trails. Whale watching in fabulous Magdalena Bay, whale shark and sea lion snorkeling, kayaking in mangrove estuaries, bird watching, desert hiking, artisan cheeses with fine wines and/or craft beers.
The “quick getaway” trips for whale watching or sea kayaking (four days/three nights) for two people remain available if you need a shorter outing. All trips originate in La Paz, Mexico. Most trips include a two-night stay in La Paz, meals, juice and evening cocktails at camp, and most equipment. Trips can be scheduled any time during the 2019-2020 season (October to April) pending availability. Thank you to Sea and Adventures Inc.
DELUXE RANCH STAY AT RICH’S MONTANA GUEST RANCH
Perched on the edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness near Seeley Lake, the family-owned Rich’s Montana Guest Ranch is a perfect getaway for two. All of the guest rooms are well-appointed, blending modern conveniences with country charm. Rich’s offers something for everyone including wildlife viewing, bird watching areas, horseback rides, mountain biking and hiking trails, outdoor horse arena, a covered hot tub, and more. This package is for two people for a three-day Deluxe Ranch Vacation at the Rich Ranch. Includes meals, lodging, and your choice of scheduled activities during your stay. Must be used by September 2020. Thank you to Jack and Belinda Rich.
NATURE, ART, & BASEBALL IN ARIZONA
Calling all baseball fans! Visit sunny Arizona during MLB Spring Training from March 15 – 21, 2020 (spring break for Missoula schools). Included is a six-night, seven-day stay in a luxury two-bedroom condo at the Legacy Golf Resort in Phoenix. This beautiful resort is conveniently located directly on the Legacy Golf Club just 15 minutes from the airport, within easy reach of 15 MLB teams’ spring training facilities.
Your days will be busy because we’re including four tickets to an Arizona Diamondbacks game courtesy of the Missoula Osprey, eight passes to the Arizona Museum of Natural History, two tickets to the Phoenix Art Museum, and an annual membership to the Desert Botanical Garden. Must be used March 15 – 21, 2020. Thank you to Wayne Chamberlain, Missoula Osprey, Arizona Museum of Natural History, Phoenix Art Museum and the Desert Botanical Garden.
SEARCHING FOR BIRDIES, EAGLES AND MUCH MORE AT MONTANA’S TOP PRIVATE GOLF COURSE
Every linkster who gets the chance to play at the Rock Creek Cattle Company course (and not many do!) raves about the unique, challenging layout and the spectacular scenery. Golfweek has ranked Rock Creek as the #1 Residential Course in America and one of the top fifteen courses to have been built in the last 50 years. Links Magazine rated it as one of the top 50 courses in the United States, top 100 in the world, and among the 100 most exclusive private clubs in the world. This item includes a round of golf for four people (with carts and a caddy) and a fabulous on-course lunch. Must be used before the end of the 2020 golf season (mid-September). Thank you to Paul Moseley.
BRAVO! CATERING DINNER FOR 8
Sit back, relax, and let Bravo! Catering and Intermountain Distributing deliver a truly memorable experience. Invite seven of your closest friends to join you for an unforgettable palate experience. With over 25 years in the culinary industry, Chef Ryan Boehme brings a wide variety of experience to the proverbial table. He has worked for some of the best restaurants in the Northwest and Europe refining his craft. Chef Ryan and his experienced staff will work with you to create a dinner menu to remember, all in the comfort of your own home. The customized, multi-course dinner will feature delicious wines professionally paired by local wine enthusiast and distributor Wes Duncan from Intermountain Distributing. Your next dinner party will be a taste sensation! Dinner must be booked at least four weeks in advance, subject to availability, and must be used by October 11, 2020. Thank you to Ryan Boehme and Wes Duncan.
FIVE-COURSE DINNER & WINE FOR 8 AT PLONK Gather seven 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, an anniversary, or any other special occasion. Guaranteed to sensationalize your taste buds and create a truly memorable evening with friends. Thank you to PLONK.
HAND-PRESSED PAINTING BY MICHELLE NOWELS
Oh, the stories a tree can tell! This original, hand-pressed painting was pulled from a 100+-year-old cedar from the St. Ignatius area here in western Montana. The beauty of Missoula artist Michelle Nowels’ paintings are in the rings of the tree. Wind, sun, fire, and insects all leave their mark on the rings of the tree. Lack of water or sun cause the rings to be narrow; wide rings show which years the tree thrived. The imperfections of each piece not only tell the age of the tree but the story of its life.
Michelle Nowels’ artwork captures her love for the outdoors. Born and raised in Austin, Texas, the arts have always played a large role in her upbringing As Michelle progressed as an artist, she followed her inspiration in her work to Missoula, Montana, where she lives with her family. Her passion for relief printing has developed as she surrounds herself with the tree-covered mountains of Montana. This piece has been beautifully framed by Art Attic. Thank you to Michelle Nowels and Art Attic.
A NIGHT ON THE TOWN FOR TWO
Grab your sweetheart for a fabulous Missoula date night! The evening will start with cocktails at Montgomery Distillery followed by an incredible dinner at The Pearl Cafe. Then head to the Top Hat for drinks and music. For the finale, Nici Holt Cline and Andy Cline have generously donated their Wilma Condo for an overnight stay. Offer good for single weeknight stay between November 1st, 2019 and March 31st, 2020. Thank you to Nici Holt Cline and Andy Cline, Zoo Thai, Montgomery Distillery and the Top Hat.
WINTER WINE WEEKEND IN NAPA
Warm the cockles of your midwinter’s hearts with a January or February 2020 weekend stay in the beautiful Bay Area including a private tour of the legendary Napa Valley with wine aficionado Michelle Lovell and her Montana Matters partner, Ron Clausen. This trip will be co-hosted by MNHC Executive Director Thurston Elfstrom and his wife Suzanne.
Your party of four will enjoy famous Montana Matters hospitality during a Friday and Saturday night stay at Casa Clausen, a beautiful San Rafael home with stunning views of the San Francisco Bay. On Saturday, Michelle will expertly guide you to and through the heart of the Napa Valley where you’ll experience an exclusive, private wine tasting at the Rutherford-based Elizabeth Spencer Winery in their historic tasting room. The balance of your day in the Napa Valley will be dependent on your group’s interests guided by Michelle’s Napa Valley expertise.
And your weekend adventure doesn’t end there. On Sunday, you have the option to enjoy a customized natural history experience in the Bay Area, informed by your group’s interests and curated by Thurston and Suzanne. Thank you to Elizabeth Spencer Winery and Montana Matters.
CHOOSE YOUR OWN OWL ADVENTURE
Will you take the Great Gray Gamble or Long-eared Owl Outing? This exclusive opportunity allows you and seven guests to spend a day in the field with world-renowned owl expert Denver Holt from the Owl Research Institute. And the best part is that you get to decide whether you will search for elusive Great Grays or visit active Long-eared Owl monitoring sites.
The Owl Research Institute’s work will be featured in BBC’s Frozen Planet series in 2019. They have also been covered by National Geographic, David Attenborough’s Life of Birds, PBS, and Discovery. ORI is also the recipient of the American Bird Association’s 2018 Chandler Robbins Conservation Award, so you and the owls are in the hands of experts.
You and your group will be chauffeured to and from the field site on MNHC’s nature bus and you will enjoy a delicious lunch afterwards. (Participants should expect to walk on uneven terrain for up to a mile and will want to bring a water bottle.) Scheduling to be determined – May 2020 timeframe. Thank you Denver Holt and the Owl Research Institute.
YELLOWSTONE WILDLIFE ADVENTURE: WOLVES AND GRIZZLIES AND BISON, OH MY!
Cooke City provides the shortest drive to Yellowstone National Park’s predator-packed Lamar Valley (we’re talking wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, coyotes, and foxes), and Lilly and Jack Tuholske’s spectacular cabin is the ideal base camp for such an adventure. It’s located walking-distance from the bakery and just about everything else in Cooke City. It’s been described as “the nicest cabin within sixty miles of Cooke City.”
But let’s say you don’t know how or where to look for Yellowstone’s crafty carnivores. We have lined up the best guide company in Yellowstone to show you the ropes. Nathan Varley (with his company Wolftracker) has been leading trips in Yellowstone for more than a decade. But he goes back much further than that. He grew up in Yellowstone National Park, where his father was chief of research. And Nathan has a PhD from the University of Calgary where he studied wolf ecology. Wolftracker has donated guiding services for two days. Must be used June 5-7, 2020. Thank you Lilly and Jack Tuholske and Nathan Varley, Wolftracker.