Kate Upton, a PBI ambassador and spokesperson, took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The centre's goal is to help visitors learn about polar bears, sea ice loss, and the urgent need to take action.
CHURCHILL, MB, Nov. 4, 2019 /CNW/ - November 3rd marked the official grand opening of the Polar Bears International House, a cutting-edge interpretive centre on one of the main streets in the 'Polar Bear Capital of the World,' Churchill, Manitoba. The new centre was created by Polar Bears International (PBI), a nonprofit dedicated to conserving polar bears and their sea ice home. It was made possible by a lead gift of $1 million from the Dani Reiss Family Foundation, along with contributions from other generous donors.
The goal of the Polar Bears International House is to educate visitors about polar bears and the Arctic sea ice they depend on. In attendance at the official house-opening event was PBI ambassador and spokesperson Kate Upton, along with scientific advisors, Churchill Mayor Mike Spence, community partners, and notable contributors.
"The Polar Bears International House will play an important role in conserving polar bears," said Krista Wright, Executive Director of PBI. "Churchill is where it all began for PBI, and the town has long been the launch pad for our outreach efforts, including our Tundra Connections educational webcasts and the Polar Bear, Beluga, and Northern Lights Cams--which collectively reached more than 9.8 million people last year. The new centre, with its in-house broadcast capabilities and lodging for scientists, will allow us to do even more."
"So far, more than a thousand visitors have passed through the house and we've received heartening feedback on the hope and inspiration it provides," she added. "The centre lets people learn about polar bears, polar bear research, and the role each of us plays in polar bear conservation. In addition, it provides new tools, such as interpretive displays and a climate-action pledge wall, to strengthen and amplify our outreach messaging—all with a goal of ensuring the polar bear's future."
Mike Spence, mayor of Churchill, praised the centre during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. "We congratulate Polar Bears International on the grand opening of their new PBI House and welcome their long term investment in Churchill. Together, with partners like Polar Bears International and the broader scientific community, Churchill will continue to lead the way in sustainable growth," he said.
Designed by Blouin-Orzes, a Montreal-based architecture firm, the Polar Bears International House is attractive, energy-efficient, and multi-purpose in design and scope. The house features an interpretive centre on the first floor and accommodations for visiting researchers above. It will act as a hub for critical conservation efforts to save polar bears and the sea ice they call home, functioning in a multitude of ways, including:
- A space to educate Churchill visitors about polar bears and the urgent need to take action on the climate crisis
- A hub of visually engaging interpretation of polar bear research, with elements including an interactive "fasting wall" that helps visitors understand the impacts of longer ice-free season on polar bears
- Broadcast venues for media crews and PBI broadcasts
- A home to inspire people to care about the Arctic and its wildlife by featuring live cams that highlight polar bears, beluga whales, and the northern lights
- A space to host visiting scientists, educators, and special guests whose outreach work and support are critical to polar bear conservation
- A gathering place for members of the Churchill community
"What affects Polar Bears, affects us all. I've been proud to support Polar Bears International and the important work they do for more than a decade. With the opening of the Polar Bears International House, not only will PBI's important research, advocacy and education be able to reach so many more people around the world, but they've also created a beautiful home for their team and the community of Churchill," said Dani Reiss, President & CEO of Canada Goose and a member of the Polar Bears International Board.
Polar Bears International House is located on donated land on Churchill's main street, Kelsey Boulevard. It will be open year-round as an education centre and facility to accommodate visiting researchers.
About Polar Bears International
Polar Bears International's mission is to conserve polar bears and the sea ice they depend on. Through media, science, and advocacy, we work to inspire people to care about the Arctic, the threats to its future, and the connection between this remote region and our global climate. PBI is the only nonprofit organization dedicated solely to wild polar bears and Arctic sea ice, and our staff includes scientists who study wild polar bears. We are a recognized leader in polar bear conservation. For more information, visit www.polarbearsinternational.org.
SOURCE Polar Bears International
For further information: Media Contacts: Shalynn Mortillaro, for Polar Bears International -- Canada, [email protected], T: 647-614-1737; Annie Edwards, for Polar Bears International -- U.S., [email protected], T: 503-277-3585