Teton the grizzly waterfall cropped.jpg

Teton the grizzly enjoys some waterfall time. 

Earthfire Institute is hosting an online event that will feature state-of-the-art design concepts for new bear gardens to be constructed within their wildlife sanctuary in Tetonia. Plans will be presented by two renowned animal habitat architects, Peter Choquette from Epsten Group and Nevin Lash, Ursa International. Live discussion will take place Thursday, April 15 from 5:00pm - 5:45pm MST, and will be recorded for later viewing.

The new gardens will give each bear the chance to do what bears do naturally—from foraging for native plants and berries, to climbing to a high point to see the land around them, to cooling off and playing in their own freshwater pool before taking a rest in their sheltered den. Earthfire’s goal is to give their bears the safety and care of sanctuary life with natural surroundings that reflect, as much as possible, the rich diversity found in the wild.

“The concept design we developed with Earthfire staff is bear-driven, and represents an exciting leap forward for bears. It addresses the four C’s of good design for animals: Comfort, Companionship, Challenge, and Choice,” says Peter.

“At Earthfire, we’ve spent several months imagining a new habitat for our resident bears that allows them to experience more of what they would have in the wild. We brought in some of the world’s foremost experts in creating zoological garden designs that prioritize an animal’s ability to thrive. The result is a blueprint for a new bear garden that provides over an acre of natural features for each bear,” says Susan Eirich, Executive Director.

Consideration has also been planned for intimate viewing areas where small groups of visitors can closely observe the bears and caregivers in several locations.

This project is part of a multi-year capital campaign to expand and rebuild Earthfire’s sanctuary, retreat facilities, and animal rehabilitation center. The focal point of the campaign is to provide enriched habitat for lifetime sanctuary animals and heighten action to preserve wildlands. Additionally, increased access for public visits, retreats, and educational programs will lead to revenue for the local economy and strengthen sustainability for Earthfire Institute, a nonprofit organization.

Zoom account holders can join the event through Meeting ID: 843 3676 6562, Passcode 456481. Others may contact office@earthfireinstitute or call (208) 456-0926 and ask for an emailed invitation