To Whet Your Appetite: Our Live Auction Items



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:

south padre island sunsetSOUTH PADRE ISLAND GETAWAY
Bird alert! Spend a week at Rich Clough’s comfortable one-bedroom condo on South Padre Island in Texas. His place is within walking distance of the beach and numerous restaurants. South Padre Island is a great place for swimming, fishing, golfing, or windsurfing, but in November and December, avian creatures take the spotlight! This area has resident and coastal birds found nowhere else in the United States. With over 500 species, it’s the ideal spot to expand your life list: ever seen a Rose-throated Becard, a Great Kiskadee, or a Green Jay? This is the place! To top it off, we have arranged birding tours for you with the South Padre Birding and Nature Center!

Condo amenities include parking, a pool, hot tub, cable tv and washer and dryer. It’s ideal for two, but there’s a sleeper couch if you want to bring little ones. The available weeks are either of the first two weeks of November or the first week of December 2018. Many seasoned birders think this is the peak time of year, as temperatures have moderated and birds are in their flashy plumage. Thank you to Rich Clough! Value: $900.

Enjoy a one-of-a-kind naturalist adventure for four at hosts Gary Fee and Jo Burris’s beautiful home and property overlooking the Clark Fork River near Alberton. UM Professor of Forest Entomology/Pathology, Dr. Diana Six, will be your guide to fascinating facts about birds, wildflowers, insects, fish, and plants while you explore riparian and upland habitat. Set in May, you will also enjoy a riotous explosion of wildflowers, including an entire hill covered in bitterroot and scarlet gilia. Gary and Jo will contact the winning bidder to design a custom meal course by course. Wine pairings will be selected at this time from the Fees’ extensive wine collection. Thank you to Gary Fee, Jo Burris and Diana Six. Value: Priceless.

Unleash your inner wild thing with this inspiring Don Jones photo of an untamed Wyoming mustang. Don shot this stunning wild stallion photo as it was chasing away competing males from a group of mares. This limited-edition 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 credit and his photos have appeared in numerous national publications including Field and Stream, Time, Outdoor Life, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated. His mantra: “Keep the ‘Wild’ in Wildlife.” Don is a resident of Troy, Montana, and a valued MNHC supporter! Thank you to Don Jones. Value: $800.

This outing for four features outstanding birding and the opportunity to learn about ongoing stream restoration efforts on the upper Clark Fork River with avid birder Gary Swant. Spring migration brings as many as 30,000 birds to the ponds within the Warm Springs Wildlife Management Area, with as many as 70 different species. This outing includes a two-night stay at the Clark Fork Coalition’s 2,300-acre Dry Cottonwood Ranch, which has plenty of wildlife and excellent hiking opportunities. The ranch house has two bedrooms and full cooking facilities. The Clark Fork River is in the backyard and the Pintler and Flint Creek ranges provide a spectacular backdrop. Andy Fischer of the Clark Fork Coalition will lead a tour of the ranch and discuss ongoing river restoration activities.

The trip will take place during the peak of spring migration, April 25th-27th, 2019. The birding with Gary Swant will take place first thing in the morning on Saturday, April 26th; the CFC tour will be in the afternoon. You can arrive to the Dry Cottonwood Ranch any time after 3:00 p.m. on April 25th and depart any time before noon on April 27th. Thanks to Gary Swant and Andy Fischer. Value: Priceless!

whitefish-ski-and-stay-packageWINTER GETAWAY TO PARK CITY
Enjoy a week-long winter vacay at the Park Plaza Boutique Resort! The resort is located in North Park City which means you’ll be within a 10-minute drive of Park City Mountain and Deer Valley Resorts. When your legs are too tired to ski or if that’s not your thing, the resort offers a courtesy shuttle that will take you anywhere in Park City (shopping, restaurants, you name it). The condo has two bedrooms and comfortably sleeps six. A full kitchen, pool access, Jacuzzi, and luxurious condo make this trip a sure way to beat the winter blues!
Dates: December 15th-22nd, 2018. Thank you to Wayne Chamberlain and Betsy Grimley. Value: $2,100.

confluence photo by Kristi HagerTHE CONFLUENCE AT DECISION POINT
This photograph by well-known local artist and photographer Kristi Hager depicts the confluence of the Marias River with the Missouri River from a point of land now known as Decision Point. Hager is inspired by the work of the Swiss artist, Karl Bodmer, who painted many scenes along this same stretch of river in 1833 when he traveled along the path that Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark traveled 28 years earlier in their historic quest to find a trade route to the Pacific Ocean. It marks the spot where the decision was made not to follow the Marias north and west but to follow instead the main channel to the south and west and, eventually, into the mountains. Of the thousands of decisions that were made on this epic journey it is the one time that the captains disagreed with the crew and insisted that the crew follow along with them and proceed up the Missouri. The crew openly disagreed but said that they would “cheerfully” follow their captains anywhere. The framing was donated by Art Attic and the printing by Paper and Ink. Thank you Kristi Hager, the Art Attic, and Paper and Ink. Value: $1,100.

Enjoy a memorable two-night stay for two at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, located on 9,000 acres of beautiful rugged country in Paradise Valley, Montana. This spectacular ranch offers world-class dining, incredible accommodations, and a spectacular range of activities (horseback riding, golf, hiking, and clay target shooting, to name a few). This package includes accommodations, all meals, gratuities, and access to all ranch activities and facilities. Mountain Sky Guest Ranch is at the top of the list of the nation’s upscale ranch resorts. It’s owned by Arthur Blank, co-founder of Home Depot and current owner of the Atlanta Falcons.

You’ll have the opportunity to spend a day in Yellowstone National Park with biologist Nathan Varley, who excels at spotting grizzlies and wolves. His trips depart from Gardiner, which is approximately 30 miles from Mountain Sky Guest Ranch.

Your stay is subject to availability between the dates of May 28th-June 2nd and August 25th-October 6th, and must be redeemed in 2019. Reservation with Nathan must be made at least 30 days in advance. Thank you to Mountain Sky Guest Ranch and Nathan Varley. Value: $2,900.

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: Nov. 17th –22nd, 2018; Dec 20th, 2018–Jan 3rd, 2019; June 29th–July 6th, 2019. Thank you to the Ranch at Rock Creek. Value: $4,800.

University of Montana President Seth Bodnar and his wife, Chelsea, will host a dinner for eight at the President’s house, featuring a special Thai menu compliments of long-time Missoula chef Marianne Forrest. Seth, who graduated from West Point, has held many titles. He’s a Rhodes and Truman Scholar, a former Army Ranger and Green Beret, and a senior executive at General Electric. Chelsea is a Harvard-educated pediatrician who is also a Rhodes and Truman scholar. Could be some interesting dinner conversation!

Seth and Chelsea BodnarMarianne has put together a Thai menu that starts with leaf rolls with treasures and coconut noodles with wild duck, moves to grilled skewered beef and squid and garlic pork for the entrees, and concludes with fried banana and coconut ice cream in meringue. Doug Ness of Montana Wine Merchants will provide matching wines for various courses of the meal.

Choose from the following dates: between March 11th-13th, with one week advance notice).
Thank you to Seth and Chelsea Bodnar, Marianne Forrest and Doug Ness. Value: Priceless!

horseback riding at the Circle Z Ranch in ArizonaARIZONA GUEST RANCH PACKAGE
Make your winter a little bit shorter with a week of hiking, birding, and horseback riding at Arizona’s premier guest ranch, the Circle Z! This spectacular 5,000-acre ranch (the oldest dude ranch in AZ!) is located near Patagonia, south of Tucson. It boasts over 165 miles of trails that wind through rugged canyons and over rocky ridges. The ranch’s most notable feature is Sonoita Creek, one of the few streams in Arizona that flows year-round. This constant water flow produces exceptional birding during migration periods. The ranch is a unique oasis in the middle of the desert. Other species inhabiting the ranch include mountain lions, coatimundi, and Gila monsters!

This trip is a four-night stay for two from Sunday to Thursday (including a morning ride and lunch on Thursday). Your room will be a double occupancy with a private bath. The ranch has a tennis court and swimming pool, with a championship golf course nearby. Horseback riding on some of the most scenic trails in Arizona is twice daily, or all-day rides can be arranged.

Of 161 recent reviews on TripAdvisor, an incredible 155 people gave the Circle Z Ranch the highest possible rating: “Excellent!” The food is great, the wildlife incredible, and the horseback riding world class.

This trip must be used during the 2018-2019 season and is valid until April 29th, 2019. This package for two can be upgraded to a larger cottage or suite at the regular upgrade price. You can also extend your stay through Sunday for an additional charge. Any additional guests will be charged the regular rate. The 15% service charge is not included in this package. Thank you to Rick and Diana Nash. Value: $3,200.

Galapagos Islands, zodiac wildlife viewingGALAPAGOS: THE ULTIMATE NATURALIST EXPERIENCE
Culture and Natural Heritage (CNH) Tours of Canada will provide one spot on an eight-day tour of the Galapagos on their 78-foot luxury yacht, the Samba. It’s an intimate experience as the boat takes only 14 visitors at a time. All meals are provided as well as a top-quality naturalist guide. This “active” tour includes hiking, kayaking, and some of the most incredible snorkeling in the world—you’ll swim with hordes of sea turtles and sea lions, view dozens of species of fish (including giant sunfish and sharks if you’re lucky), marine iguanas, seals, dolphins, whales, and so much more! The bird life is equally spectacular and extremely approachable, including Magnificent Frigatebirds, Galapagos Penguins, and Blue-footed Boobies. The Galapagos are where Charles Darwin developed his theory of natural selection, and the finches and tortoises which informed that concept remain in abundance. CNH has designed this trip for “inquisitive, physically fit adventurers and naturalists.”

Spaces are available for the rest of 2018 and all of 2019 and are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Plenty of spots remain available. The rooms (which have private baths, showers and ac) are double occupancy. If traveling alone, you must be willing to share a room with a person of the same sex. CNH Tours says the trip can be expanded to 13 days for an additional price of $1,352. Heather and Marc run their tour business with a unique personal touch and have been widely recognized for their social responsibility. Thanks to Heather Blenkiron and Marc Patry. Value: $4,100.

Thanks to Montana-owned Sea and Adventures, Inc. we’ve had this item for several years. We keep having it because everyone who goes says it’s fabulous! Treat yourself to a south-of-the-border outdoor adventure with your choice of whale watching or sea kayaking, both near La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Option one: 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 mid-March) to court, breed, and give birth. From La Paz you’ll be taken to a beautiful bayside beach camp nestled in the dunes. Daily excursions into the bay provide close-up encounters with 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 birdwatching, kayaking in the mangrove estuaries, and evening presentations by trained naturalists. Trip includes 2 nights hotel in La Paz, meals, juice and evening cocktail at camp, and most equipment.

Option two: Two people can kayak and camp for four days/three nights on Espiritu Santo Island where you can explore beautiful white sand beaches or hike 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 two-night hotel stay in La Paz, meals, juice and evening cocktail at camp, and most equipment. This trip can be scheduled any time during the season from October to April, pending availability, 2018-2019. Trips do not include travel to/from Baja, meals in town, or beverages. Thank you to Sea and Adventures, Inc. Value: $2,000.

Mayor Engen is back for a second year to offer his culinary skills and quick wit! This time he’s joined by Scott and Julee Stearns who will prepare a fantastic dinner for 10 at the Stearns’ incredible South Hills home that provides dynamite views of Missoula. This meal will feature smoked meats and barbeque, but we’re not talking overcooked brats or poorly grilled burgers. Think brisket, local brews, and Stearns-curated wines. Dinner will be topped with a surprise dessert to wrap things up. Gather your table mates and raise your paddles for this perfect summer evening which is most certainly going to be a culinary treat and wildly entertaining! Dinner must be scheduled in June 2019.
Thank you to Mayor John Engen and Scott and Julee Stearns. Value: Priceless!

mount gould from grinnell glacier glacier national parkGLACIER NATIONAL PARK WOMEN’S ADVENTURE
Join recently retired bear biologist for Glacier National Park, Kate Kendall, as she leads a women’s hike to the Grinnell Glacier overlook and then to a unique and stunningly beautiful geological feature known as the Angel Wing. Along the way you’ll look for bears, as well as signs of their presence that you may never have noticed, and learn many of the intricacies of grizzly research.

Included will be a one-night stay (three rooms with two queen beds each) at Thronson’s Motel, located in Babb, Montana, very close to trailheads on the east side of the park. This a unique opportunity to spend time in the field with one of our nation’s pioneering female grizzly bear researchers. And most important, Kate is a lot of fun!

The hike will take place on July 27th, 2019, and is for 6-10 women. Thank you to Kate. Value: Priceless!

Eight lucky people can experience incredible food and conversation at Pearl’s home in the Ninemile, accompanied by author and adventurer Jon Turk. Jon has kayaked across the North Pacific and around Cape Horn, mountain biked through the Gobi Desert, climbed big walls on Baffin Island, and circumnavigated Ellesmere Island. He’s written several books that reflect his close association with nature and speaks compellingly about the value of finding the wild in our daily lives.

Jon Turk, adventurerPearl will prepare a French-style meal that includes house-cured salmon with fennel, crème fraiche and buckwheat crepes, grilled beef tenderloin with bordelaise sauce and wild mushroom potato gratin, finished with strawberry and rhubarb tartlets with crème chantilly. All courses will be accompanied by matching wines and coffee. This promises to be a night to remember!

Dinner must take place between May 1st and June 30th, 2019. Blackout dates may apply so final date must be selected with Pearl by April 1st, 2019.
Thank you to Pearl Cash and Jon Turk. Value: Priceless!

cyclists biking on a Montana highway on a gorgeous summer dayFULLY-SUPPORTED BIKING TRIP FROM GLACIER TO YELLOWSTONE
Experience two of the most iconic natural landscapes in the world, Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, on an epic point-to-point camping and cycling tour! This 7-day, 6-night adventure covers almost 400 miles and takes you on the most scenic routes in Montana with breathtaking views of mountains, lakes, glaciers, rivers, valleys, rolling hills, the Rocky Mountains, and overnights in small Montana towns. With fully-supported bike rides, delicious chef-prepared meals, camping under the stars, and breathtaking rides, the Glacier to Yellowstone cycling tour is a trip you’ll never forget!

The bidding is for a single spot. This trip takes place July 29th-August 4th, 2019. Thanks to The Cycling House. Value: $1,995.

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.
Thank you to PLONK. Value: $1,500.

Join UM scientist Dr. Steve Running and Dropstone Outfitting for a multiday hiking trip in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. This four-day workshop focuses on climate change and what that means to the world and wilderness around us. Steve is an internationally-recognized expert in climate change and member of the international team whose work was recognized with the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

The route will explore the vast North Fork of the Sun River Valley, complete with flowers, wildlife, and spectacular scenery. Base camp will be in one location, which will allow for ample time to hike, learn about climate change, and enjoy the wilderness setting. Best of all, the trip is stock supported, so all you need to bring is a light daypack. Dropstone will bring all food, sleeping gear, and tents on mules.

The bidding is for a single spot on the trip. However, Dropstone will make a $100 donation to MNHC for every additional person who signs up for the trip at the auction or within a week after. Bring your hiking group or your family on this adventurous and educational trip and fill the remaining nine spots!

This trip takes place May 31st-June 3rd, 2019. Thank you to Maggie and Yve of Dropstone Outfitters. Value: $1,000.

the Wilma theater, missoula, montanaA 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 Saketome. If you’re not too tired, you can head to a concert at the Top Hat and dance the night away! For the finale, Lindsey and Ross Peterson have generously donated their Wilma Condo for an overnight stay. Could be the perfect Valentine’s Day idea…
Offer good for a single weeknight stay between November 1st 2018 and March 31st, 2019.
Thank you to Lindsey and Ross Peterson, Saketome, Montgomery Distillery and the Top Hat. Value: Priceless

Fox painting by Janet McGahanFOX PAINTING BY JANET MCGAHAN
Janet McGahan of Arlee, who passed away a little more than a month ago, created high-quality wildlife portraits for more than 30 years. Noted for her impressionist watercolor work, she was a signature member of the Montana Watercolor Society. Janet studied under the Chinese painter Tu Baixong. Through the course of her career she gained a reputation for her works in oil and family portraiture as well as watercolors. This red fox is one of her last works; it measures 22”x22”.

Janet was a very special person with a kindness and gentleness matched by few people. She was a great friend of MNHC, and we will miss her sorely.
Thank you Janet. Value $700.

hitched horsehair bridleHITCHED HORSEHAIR BRIDLE
Ever since humans and horses became a team, the flowing mane and tail of the horse have served many purposes. These strong, waterproof, dyeable strands of hair have been used for ropes, fishing line, and on bows for musical instruments. But there is a utilitarian use, yet also aesthetic, that’s become part of American folk art: the hitching of horsehair to create a horse bridle. It is a tedious and time-consuming activity. Priss Leslie of Helena, who donated the bridle to MNHC, estimates she spent 60-80 hours making this handsome bridle. The bridle contains over 8,400 individual horse hairs and is intended for everyday use. Thank you to Priss Leslie. Value: $800.

Unable to make it to the event? We have proxy bidding available!
Call 327.0405 or email Sarah for more information!


2018 Auction & Banquet Sponsors for Montana Natural History Center