Polar Bears International

aka PBI   |   Bozeman, MT   |  http://www.polarbearsinternational.org

Mission

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.

Ruling year info

1994

Executive Director

Ms. Krista Wright

Main address

PO Box 3008

Bozeman, MT 59772 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

77-0322706

NTEE code info

Protection of Endangered Species (D31)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Big, brilliant, and built for cold, polar bears are the very symbol of a wild Arctic. Yet despite their size and strength, they need our help to survive the coming decades. Polar bears use sea ice as a platform to hunt their seal prey--and to travel, find mates, and raise their cubs. But climate warming is melting the polar bear’s sea ice home. Research shows that unless we greatly reduce carbon emissions, it’s likely that all but a few polar bear populations will collapse by the end of the century. While sea ice loss from climate warming is the overarching threat to polar bears, polar bears also face more immediate challenges such as industrial activity, den disturbances, and conflicts with people, a growing problem as the sea ice melts and more polar bears are driven ashore. To ensure that polar bears survive for generations to come, we must address both short- and long-term threats.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Tundra Connections

Each fall, PBI conducts live, free broadcasts from the tundra during the annual polar bear migration in Churchill. Viewers can watch and interact with world-renowned scientists and educators as arctic winds shake the buggies and polar bears prowl outside.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults

PBI Leadership Camps are for motivated individuals who wish to advocate for conservation and sustainable lifestyles. Attendees observe polar bears in the wild and learn about climate change first-hand from experts while aboard mobile classrooms on the tundra near Churchill, Manitoba.

Population(s) Served
Young adults

Partnering zoos and aquariums support PBI research projects to conserve wild polar bears, provide leadership for carbon emission reduction in the communities, strive for bear-friendly exhibits with enrichment activities to stimulate bears to be active and content, and play a role in the PBI Sustainability Alliance.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The loss of sea ice due to climate change is impacting denning polar bears across the Arctic. In Svalbard, Norway—where sea ice loss is most dramatic—we are observing fewer maternal dens, as well mothers and cubs in poorer condition when they emerge from their dens. This issue could worsen as an ever-warming Arctic opens new opportunities for tourism and development in the North.
Unfortunately, very little is known about polar bear denning behavior—and even less is known about the impacts of human disturbance on denning bears.

Polar Bears International (PBI) is addressing this knowledge gap by monitoring dens with remote camera systems refined over years of field testing.
Built to withstand harsh Arctic conditions while reducing disturbance to denning bears, these cameras are helping us understand the denning needs of polar bears.
Impacts:
The benefits of this project are three-fold:
● Unlocking mysteries around denning needs, so wildlife managers can better protect mothers and cubs;
● Transforming wildlife research by providing scientists with a powerful new tool with which to study animals less invasively; and
● Fostering cross-border conservation by engaging researchers from 3 of the 5 countries that polar bears live in.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Detecting polar bear dens is especially important in areas where human activity is heavy and increasing, such as Alaska’s North Slope. Dens made by females in the Southern Beaufort population are in snowdrifts, where they are not detectable to the naked eye once they drift closed. Although forward-looking infrared (FLIR) has been previously used to detect dens, it is easily influenced by wind, airborne moisture (snow, ice, fog), direct sunlight, and den wall thickness—making it more prone to user error.

In recent years, advances in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imaging have improved our ability to detect and analyze disruptions in a generally uniform environment such as snow. A polar bear’s body and den chamber should be discernible with SAR, which is far less sensitive to variables that impact FLIR. Furthermore, SAR can view a 2-kilometer swath of land at a time, allowing a more efficient survey of potential denning areas.
Polar Bears International (PBI) will work with partners to refine SAR for den detection and will use SAR data to enhance current predictive models for polar bear denning.

Once refined, SAR should provide a more resilient and accurate tool for industry and polar bear managers. This tool will be less weather-dependent and limit false positives, while helping protect denning mothers and cubs from increasing industrial activities.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of media citations of advocate research or products

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Age groups, Work status and occupations

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Polar Bears International (PBI) appeared in 2,054 unique publications, including BBC, NY Times, CNN, and more. Estimated aggregate readership/media value for 2020: 5.9 billion/$20.13 million.

Numbers reached through education sessions.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Age groups, Work status and occupations

Related Program

Tundra Connections

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Numbers reached by Tundra Connections via PBI /partner, Explore.org: registered viewers: 30,374; Webcasts/Live Chats views: 187,030; Streaming content views:12,720,168; Facebook Live views:13,428,273

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Polar Bears International’s mission is to conserve polar bears and the sea ice they depend on. We also work to inspire people to care about the Arctic, the threats to its future, and the connection of this remote region with our global climate.

As a science-based organization with staff including world-renowned polar bear scientists and partnerships that span the circumpolar Arctic, we focus on addressing both the long- and short-term challenges that polar bears face, with a goal of sustaining a future for the bears across the Arctic.

Polar Bears International accomplishes our mission to conserve polar bears and the sea ice they depend on through research, collaboration, education/outreach, and action. It is our commitment to:

1.) Serve as the global resource for information regarding polar bears and their habitat;
2.) Be the leading voice about climate warming impacts on polar bears and the Arctic while actively seeking solutions through education, advocacy, and action;
3.) Conduct, support, and share scientific research that informs polar bear conservation;
4.) Educate an international audience about polar bear conservation and provide mentorship for the actions that will help ensure their survival;
5.) Proactively and effectively communicate science-based information on polar bears and their conservation;
6.) Maintain transparency in fiscal management and sound business policies and practices; and,
7.) Follow best environmental practices as an organization, including minimizing our greenhouse gas footprint.

With the help of a network of partners, including universities, zoos, aquariums, and government entities, Polar Bears International serves as a leading source for information about the challenges of our global climate emergency and solutions to slow the loss of Arctic sea ice and conserve polar bear populations. We seek out connections to amplify messages grounded in scientific study and promote the conservation of polar bears across the 19 subpopulations across the Arctic.

Polar Bears International accomplishes our mission to conserve polar bears and the sea ice they depend on through research, education, and advocacy. It is our commitment to:

1. Serve as the global resource for information regarding polar bears and their habitat;
2. Be the leading voice about climate warming impacts on polar bears and the Arctic while actively seeking solutions through education, advocacy, and action;
3. Conduct, support, and share scientific research that informs polar bear conservation;
4. Educate an international audience about polar bear conservation and provide mentorship for the actions that will help ensure their survival;
5. Proactively and effectively communicate science-based information on polar bears and their conservation; 6.
6. Maintain transparency in fiscal management and sound business policies and practices; and,
7. Follow best environmental practices as an organization, including minimizing our greenhouse gas footprint.

As a science-based organization with staff scientists renowned in the polar bear world, Polar Bears International (PBI) regularly participates in international meetings related to polar bear conservation, joining other representatives from the five polar bear nations (Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia, and the U.S.). These groups help set research and conservation priorities for polar bears across the circumpolar Arctic. We also support others in attending such meetings when they may not have the means to do so themselves.
In addition, our staff scientists regularly conduct research and publish papers that add to our understanding of polar bears and help inform policy decisions, a unique approach in the nonprofit world. Specifically, our research projects are designed to understand polar bears’ behavior, including migration, movement, and denning, and how changes to this critical habitat affect their well-being. This research helps communities and wildlife managers set guidelines to protect the bears, informing management and recovery plans. For example, we recently provided in-depth commentary to U.S. government agencies on the threats posed to denning polar bear families from proposed oil and gas activity in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, based on our decades-long history of den research. The refuge is a key denning area for the threatened Southern Beaufort Sea population; this is a critical habitat where every den counts. The data gained over years of fieldwork will be a major factor should companies push to open the refuge to drilling despite the established risks to moms and cubs.
In addition, we are working with partners to track changes in the number of polar bears on land and shifts in human-polar bear encounters across the Arctic. We are engaged in providing solutions to people who live, work and recreate in polar bear country to keep both themselves and polar bears safe. From education on safety to low-tech deterrence methods (like bear spray and noisemakers) and new surveillance technology capable of detecting approaching polar bears, our team is working every angle to provide a full suite of solutions to help mitigate negative human-polar bear interactions.
As a result of our history and expertise, PBI continues to be a trusted source of information for decision-makers, community leaders, teachers, and the public regarding polar bears and their habitat. Our website reaches half a million people annually with the latest news and information about polar bears, the threats they face, and how we each can help. We also provide additional training and resources for nonprofits, zoos, aquariums, and educators to expand our reach, supporting the success of our mission.
PBI also partners with educational professionals to extend our reach into classrooms worldwide, providing science-based information about polar bears and the Arctic. We amplify our reach through education partners, i.e., Google Apple, Microsoft, and Discovery Education.

Financials

Polar Bears International
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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Polar Bears International

Board of directors
as of 6/14/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

John Kelleher

Kelleher Ford

Term: 2019 - 2020


Board co-chair

Amy Moore

PAWS of Jackson

Term: 2019 - 2020

Richard Beck

No Affiliation

Dani Reiss

Canada Goose

Valerie Beck

No Affiliation

Frederica Gamble

No Affiliation

Patrick Keeley

Inukshuk Capital

John Kelleher

Kelleher Ford

Amy Moore

PAWS of Jackson

Kevin Spreekmeester

No Affiliation

Steve Dolman

Deloitte

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/8/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data