Trekking for Grizzlies and Multiple System Atrophy
Organized by: Nicole
One of Matt's last wishes was to unite his love tor Grizzly bears with his desire to flight Multi System Atrophy (MSA). His plan was a hike through the rugged Y2Y corridor, threatened Grizzly bear habitat, to raise awareness and funds for the research to eliminate the disorder that attacked him. He began his wildlife career as a trapper for the Montana Border Grizzly Project and the Yellowstone Inter-agency Grizzly Bear Study. Most of his adult life was devoted to developing initiatives and breathing life into new projects focused on the protection and preservation of the bears of North America and their ecosystems. He was a founder and/or a major force in: the protection of Grizzly bears and their critical habitat in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem; successfully lobbying lawmakers for wildlife while at the Wyoming Wildlife Federation; researching bears outside Yellowstone Park with the Gallatin Grizzly Project; expanding the reach of the Great Bear Foundation to protect all eight species of the world's bears; preservation of the Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) Corridor; and using his gifted naturalist talent to educate teachers & youth through his Bears & Ecosystems Field Studies. In the later part of his career he expanded his efforts to coastal wildlife through his work with the Sandaway Nature Center in Florida. In all his work, Matt's unabashed passion for our wild lands, Matt moved many to join his mission. In the prime of his life Matt was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder, Multiple Systems Atrophy (MSA). This began a new chapter in his life, one he described as “slower paced.” During this time he continued his commitment to conservation through writing and advocacy. His blog, Naturalist Journeys, on word press, chronicled his efforts until 2012. He truly sought a better world for our future generations. In the past three years his focus increasingly was on managing his disease and learning how to continue to live life to its fullest in spite of his condition. He continued to watch birds and log his sightings. He was a scientific advisor for a recently released science fiction book set in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. He took a final trip to Yellowstone in May 2015 and, from his wheelchair vehicle, in true Matt form, spotted a grizzly in Lamar Valley. Matt truly cared about science and improving the world we live in. His final wish was to donate his brain to research in hopes that it would contribute to diminishing the impact of his disorder and to finding a cure. This is a year long fundraiser to raise awareness and funds. Hike, donate money or do both!