Help Needed - UPDATE June 28, 2018

I recently got a simple request to participate in a voting contest and help a couple win a $1,400 ukelele. I placed my votes daily watching them reach 56 votes while a competitor reached 450 votes.Photo in contestPhoto in contest I wanted to help but couldn’t do nearly enough. What makes me now reach out to Lily Fans is that this couple just happens to be the couple that made everything possible that has happened for bears here since 1999. They made possible the research, the Bear Center, the Den Cams, the documentaries, even Lily Fans.

Here’s who they are and what happened. Allen Garber was the newly appointed DNR commissioner back in 1999. Kim was his assistant commissioner—now his wife. They became my friends for life.

Some of the following is from Allen Garber’s book of memoirs (Striving to be the Best, 2010), some of it is from the Administrative Law Hearing records of 2014, and some of it is from emails.

It is a story of how a man with quiet strength and a sense of justice stood up for what was right and refused to become part of petty politics. When two DNR officials asked him not to grant me a bear study permit, he became curious. He had a background as an investigator, and he investigated. He spent time with the official who was the DNR’s bear biologist. He spent time with me. He learned what I really do and the purpose of my research. He saw that as my findings add new knowledge about bears it can advance bear management and coexistence. He wanted to see more research—not squelch it. He was a breath of fresh air. He and his assistant commissioner attended one of my lectures to learn more. He met a family of study bears.

He granted the permit with the backing of Fish and Wildlife Director Roger Holmes. Then things went downhill for me. Holmes retired. Control of my permit fell to one of the officials who had requested that the commissioner not grant it. On March 1, 2001, I met with him and the other official who had tried to prevent me from having a permit. I learned later that they had come into the meeting planning to remove my permit.

On our lunch break, I ran into the Deputy Commissioner. He asked how things were going in the meeting. I told him I was worried. Things didn’t seem right. I’m not sure exactly what happened next, but unbeknown to me, Commissioner Garber, a man of quiet strength, stepped in. Today, he modestly says he is glad he was in a position to do the right thing, but what he did made all the difference for bears and what we’ve learned since then. I didn’t know the outcome until a few days later when I got a call from a reporter asking me if I was surprised at my new permit and if I had any explanation for it. I said I hadn’t seen it. He said that it said I could radio-collar as many bears as I wanted in my study area and that I could determine my study area. It gave me the ability to move forward and do the kind of research and education that was needed.

Now he’s hoping his wife can win the ukulele. It is my chance to show appreciation. It is our chance to show appreciation.

Here’s how to vote:

Go to https://1.shortstack.com/9LvPZK/n6wMR?w=68293976&e=191531563.

Scroll down past the form (that is for entering the contest) until you see the photos.

Click the heart in the vote box under the photo: Camp’in and Uke’in (which will be at the top of the list)

Type in your mobile number

Click on Send Code

Look on your cell phone for the six number code that will be sent to you.

Type in that code to register your vote.

Kim and Al are currently in ninth place with 90 votes. The leader has 822. We can each vote once per day. Contest ends on July 5th. This will be interesting to follow.

Thank you for all you do.

Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

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