Chris Morgan's Wildnotes

Unforgettable day

  
Yesterday was one of them. IN fact it blew my mind. I spent all day tingling with goosebumps. We were in LA to witness something I have never seen before……beautifully composed music being played by a world class orchestra in an historic space. But THIS was something extra special……we were here to witness the score recording for our film BEARTREK…..composed and conducted by the one and only Jeremy Zuckerman. WOW! It was an experience I will never forget….26 strings, plus brass in the Eastwood Scoring Stage of Warner Brothers Studios. Hallowed ground for sure….so many huge films have been scored here. 

I’ve been working closely with Jeremy for several weeks as he has created the score but nothing could have prepared me for the wave of emotion I felt as we watched the film on the big screen while the orchestra played their hearts out, breathing life and energy into our baby! TOTALLY AMAZING! We have been working on BEARTREK for the last 7 years, so you can imagine how it feels to be at one of the final stages of the process. I could barely hold it together as I welcomed the orchestra as the newest members of the BEARTREK family. THANK you all. THANK YOU Jeremy, and thank you Mark Robertson, all of the brilliant musicians and engineers, and Warner Brothers for the use of this special place. 

Chris   

    
    
    
    
 

New grizzly bear film – released this week!

WANTED: Grizzly Bears?

I’m really excited to share our brand new film with you…released to the public just this week. A seven minute short about the North Cascades grizzly bear.

We interviewed lots of people on the street (and on the trail) for this one, and wanted to pack it full of fascinating information and beautiful scenes. It was launched at a great event in Seattle on Monday.

There may be only 2 or 3 grizzly bears left in the North Cascades….and the government has just started to look at ways to remedy that.

THANK YOU to my amazing dedicated team (Brenda Phillips, Aaron Straight, Doug Lyons, Darcy Riggins-Schmidt, James Bretz, Brandon Sawaya, Dave Brown) for all the time and passion you poured into this!

Thank you to our generous sponsors:
Washington’s National Park Fund, National Parks Conservation Association, Woodland Park Zoo, Vital Ground, Hauser Bears, BEARTREK, Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission and the Russ-Dobbs Family Trust.

We hope you enjoy it……and please do share with friends – we really want to get word out about the opportunity that lies ahead for the North Cascades, its grizzly bears, and its people.

Bear Hugs,

Chris

p.s. Here’s the film’s homepage: www.grizzlybearfilm.org

Pretty WILD! New 2 minute showreel of Chris Morgan’s work (crank the volume).

Beautiful places and amazing wildlife from all over the world over the last few years of my work in conservation and film. Thank you to Robert Mape and David Gold at DENIZEN for crafting this piece. And to Darcy Riggins-Schmidt and Andrew Logan for all their involvement. And to the many film sources – especially WNET/PBS Nature, and National Geographic, and all of the incredibly talented artists I work with. Chris.

Into the European Wild – Week 4

July 19th, 2015

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Home for the night thanks to a friendly Austrian farmer.  BMW Motorrad BMW Motorcycles of Seattle BMW Group BMW Motorrad USA MSR – Mountain Safety Research Touratech Touratech-USA

July 20th, 2015

A quick video post from Austria….a strategic location for carnivore conservation in Europe sitting between over 1500 bears in Slovenia/Croatia, and far fewer (or none at all) in Italy, Germany, and Switzerland.

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Made it back to Munich. I have loved you being along for the ride. You seriously bring a whole new level to it all by being there. THANKS! 3200km, 5 countries, and 1 bear later….More to come once I’ve downloaded other pics and footage. Thank you to all the kind humans I’ve encountered along the way. You have left me inspired about the future for the wild places of Europe.  I will be back soon.

July 22nd, 2015

Watch this beautiful shepherd’s dog react to my wolf howl in Italy last week. I wanted to bring him home.

July 25th, 2015

Not always a straight line from A to B. Getting into the bear country of northern Italy where about 40 brown bears remain. BearTrek BMW Motorrad BMW Motorrad USA BMW Group BMW R 1200 GSA Touratech Touratech-USA Air Canada MOTORRAD

Into the European Wild – Week 3 – Part 2

July 16th, 2015

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I had an incredibly warm and real experience a few days ago with a shepherd and his wife in the bear country of the Italian Dolomites. At the end of a rough road I found their farmhouse….just as a crazy thunderstorm was coming in. Not a great situation when you are wet, sitting on top of a metal horse on a mountain ridge. Well Ahania and Lorenzo invited me in out of the rain, then for dinner, then to spend the night. It was amazing. Something I will never forget. Lorenzo is a young guy but wise beyond his years…seeking a simple life looking after his few cows and making exceptional cheese. Ahania made me feel completely at home and we spent the night drinking wine and talking about wildlife and cows! There is quite the history of bears right there, and last year Lorenzo saw wolves outside his front door too. I love stumbling across wonderful people…they seem to be everywhere when you start looking a little.

July 17th, 2015

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I just saw a bear in Croatia!!!!!! Moments ago. Details to follow……happy man! Just 3 seconds but MAGIC!

July 18th, 2015

Here’s what happened…..a pretty special moment given there are only about 1000 bears in Croatia. Of course that is way more than Italy or most European countries, which is exactly why I’m here. The bears from here and neighboring Slovenia provide a “drip feed” for other European countries. No passports required for these bears. Ironic that I would spot this bear from the back of my motorcycle given that I’d spent the day hiking miles in the high country looking!

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Great new bear friends at Kuterevo Bear Sanctuary Utočište Medvjeda Kuterevo Thanks for the welcome. Support these guys if you can….they love bears and do good work.

Ok a bit of the backstory. Not that I’m superstitious or anything. This was before I saw the bear….

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These were some pics from my search. I hiked high into the mountains….found scat, but no bear. Those of you who know me will know that I was just as excited by the pile of excrement as I would have been by a bear itself.

…then I saw the bear, on my way back down the gravel road on my bike. The penny (Kuna) dropped……..I am now superstitious.

Behind the scenes clip: The A team in action – filming over the last few days in the North Cascades

We’re making a short film about grizzly bears for North Cascades National Park (did you know there are fewer than 20 remaining in the North Cascades of Washington? Perhaps far fewer than that). Here’s the crew in action capturing thoughts and emotions from some wonderful people along the way. The actual film will be ready to watch in early 2016….we’ll keep you posted. Huge thanks to the A Team: Brenda Phillips, Aaron Straight, James Bretz, Darcy Riggins-Schmidt & Brandon Sawaya.

Chris
9.25.15

Thanks Brenda Phillips for editing the clip (and also filming the interviewees so beautifully) and Brandon Sawaya for his ‘behind the scenes’ footage and photographs. 

Into the European Wild – Week 3 – Part 1

July 12th, 2105

2 hours from Rome. Bear country. How on earth?

July 13th, 2015

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A few pics from the last day or so.

July 15th, 2015

Drone landing. Found some friends to help me do some filming yesterday here in Abruzzo. Thanks to Paolo Palermo and Giovanni Formosa!

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A few pics from filming my experiences here in Abruzzo. Hope you enjoy.

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Well farewell Italy. As expected, I have fallen in love with you. Croatia here we come. Here’s to the bears ahead and behind. [on the ferry from Italy to Croatia].

Cheers,

Chris
Bellingham, WA, USA
8.24.15

Into the wild. The European wild.

Hi All,

I’ve decided to gather a bunch of pictures and posts here from my recent Europe trip (thanks for your help Andrew Logan!!). If you enjoy reading them, please smile, comment, and share.

I did 2300 miles on an R1200GS Adventure motorcycle (an exact twin of my own at home), and many more by foot.

The trip was inspirational in many ways – as a naturalized American heading back to my native continent it was filled with nostalgia of course. But I’ve been in the USA for 18 years now, so my perspective has also changed a little. I was back there with wide-eyed wonder at the history, the architecture, the cultures, the food. Everything Rick Steve’s talks about. But I also avoided the cities. I was here for the WILD. And I found it. More than anything, I was inspired to find pockets of wilderness that were healthy enough for bears and wolves to call home.

Germany has 700 wolves now! Germany’s wolf guru Ulrich Wotschikowsky told me so as we poured over a map of Europe in wide-eyed amazement at the beginning of my trip (his site in German here: http://woelfeindeutschland.de). My journey from Germany, home to the now famous story of Bruno the bear (who was the country’s first bear in 180 years) took me through Austria, and to one of my main destinations, Italy. Here there are bears among the jagged, knife-like peaks of the Dolomites in Italy’s Alps. And even more surprising, there are bears just over an hour from Rome! How they have made it is mind-boggling. It’s ironic as the Romans played a big role in wiping them out from Britain where I’m from, but here on their doorstep, Europe’s “grizzlies” squeaked through. There are only about 40 of them left, but they are there. I had tears in my eyes as I rounded a mountain road on my bike to a view of Italy’s bear mountains for the first time. Amazing they have been able to patiently live their lives in a thumbnail of wildness as we surround them with humans and all they bring.

I was excited to find bear sign (scat, hair, rub tree bites) in both these ecosystems of Italy – and for those of you who’ve seen me around a pile of bear poop, you know I’m not exaggerating when I talk of getting giddy. The Alps just about finished me off on a few occasions though – my knees took a hammering on those relentless vertical slopes.

Over to Croatia – and even more surprises – including a bear population in a national park on the coast! This country boats around 1000 brown bears and is a really important source – a drip feed for other areas of Europe. Still though, they are hard to find. But I scored. Read on to find out more.

I was also really moved to discover a bear sanctuary in a little Croatian town where one man created a home for orphaned bears, AND young people from all over the world who are helping out there, and perhaps even discovering themselves in the process. It was one of the most moving moments of the trip, hanging with young people from Israel, France, Portugal, Romania, Croatia, and Slovenia for a spontaneous afternoon of bear talk. Here’s more about them: https://kuterevo.wordpress.com/bears/

OK, but I’m rambling – this was supposed to be a short intro – I will let you discover the rest for yourselves as I post these blogs over the coming days. THANK YOU for tuning in – we’re all in this together right?

Cheers,

Chris
Bellingham, WA, USA
8.18.15

 

June 30th, 2015

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I’m on my way to Europe for a few cool things. Giving a talk about bears, wolves and tigers at BMW Motorrad Days in Germany. Should be some good laughs among 40,000 fellow bikers. Then heading into bear country in Italy and perhaps Croatia. Wow! Tracking wildlife and seeking incredible stories to tell through film. Did you know there are European Grizzlies an hour from Rome!!!!

July 1st, 2015

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Just arrived in sunny ‪#‎Munich. Here to quench my thirst on my dual life of wildlife and wild rides. First stop ‪#‎BMWMotorraddays in ‪#‎Garmisch ‪#‎Partenkirchen, Bavaria, (gorgeous pic of the area from the web below). BMW Motorrad USA BMW Motorrad BMW Motorrad UK Touratech-USA Touratech And bears? “Bruno” – Germany’s first wild ‪#‎bear in a long time got a lot of press in 2006, although a sad ending, he perhaps paved the way for others. More on him here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bear_JJ1

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Will be looking for these on my journey through Germany, Italy and perhaps Croatia. I took this one in Alaska. Big bears there around 1500 pounds. Big bears here in Europe maybe 600. ‪#‎bear ‪#‎grizzly ‪#‎wilderness ‪#‎BMWMotorrad ‪#‎BMWMotorradDays ‪#‎BMW

‪#‎motorcycle

‪#‎R1200GS

‪#‎bikersofinstagram

‪#‎bikelife

‪#‎instamoto

‪#‎adventure

‪#‎onassignment

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Stop me if you want me to draw a grizzly bear paw bike tattoo for you too. The ‪#‎BEARTREK emblem! Chris ‪#‎bear ‪#‎grizzly ‪#‎wilderness ‪#‎motorcycle ‪#‎wolf ‪#‎BMWMotorrad ‪#‎BMWMotorradDays ‪#‎BMW ‪#‎R1200GS ‪#‎bikersofinstagram ‪#‎bikelife ‪#‎instamoto ‪#‎adventure ‪#‎onassignment ‪#‎wildlife ‪#‎planet ‪#‎ChrisMorganWildlife ‪#‎ecology ‪#‎conservation

July 3rd, 2015

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First View of the Alps!

Into the European Wild – Week 2

Some posts from my entry into bear country as my journey from Germany, through Austria and into Italy begins.

July 5th, 2015

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Thank you BMW Motorrad in Munich. Just picked up my identical twin loaner bike Italy here we come!!

July 6th, 2015

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I’m standing speechless with tears rolling down my face as I just came round a bend to my first view of the amazing mountain range that has bears in it in Italy. Just a few of them clinging on against the odds in this busy little wilderness. I can’t believe how much this last few minutes has moved me. We owe it to them to see they can.

July 8th, 2015

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I can’t be sure but I THINK I’m in the right place🙂. Parco Naturale Adamello Brenta Geopark. Viva Italia! always call this home. They don’t ask for much.

July 8th, 2015

Among new friends in the heart of Italy’s bear country.

Cheers,

Chris
Bellingham, WA, USA
8.21.15

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