Happy Earth Day!
As we take a moment to celebrate our remarkable planet and the life systems that support us, I’d also like to celebrate Chuck Jonkel – an environmental advocate who did so much for our world.
Chuck was one of the first bear biologists and the founder of the Great Bear Foundation, based in Missoula, MT. A tireless advocate for bears and nature, he was part of the chain reaction (one that included an encounter with Yellowstone grizzly bear Scarface) that led me to learning about the spirit bear and launching the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition’s campaign to help protect their habitat 20 years ago.
Last week, Chuck passed away and the world lost a hero for nature and I lost a friend and mentor. His passion for the wild was only matched by his kindness and compassion. And though his legacy lives on in the many people he impacted and in the vast lands he helped protect, he will be missed every day.
So please join me today in toasting the wonders of our world, but also Chuck Jonkel, to whom we all owe a great debt of gratitude for his advocacy that has indeed given our planet – and the bears that roam it – a better chance of survival.