Taking the plunge to protect polar bears

What’s a polar bear dip without some snow and ice? This year, however, Mother Nature proved particularly generous for the OLG Casino Point Edward’s fourth annual fundraiser for WWF’s conservation work in the Arctic.
When eight dedicated polar dippers gathered at the mouth of the St. Clair River on January 4th, they found snow on the ground, ice floes on the water and freezing rain in the air. But a little winter weather can’t hold back this team.

© OLG Casino Point Edward

Once again, these awesome folks collected more than $1,000 for WWF’s Arctic conservation work. And as if running into a freezing river in January wasn’t enough, one hardy dipper upped the ante, promising to spend an extra five seconds submerged up to her shoulders for every hundred dollars she raised.
This year saw several fresh faces, including seven-year-old Keegan Coffin who joined her dad for the plunge. “She said she’s really concerned about the polar bears, so she wants to do her part,” says organizer Nora Jennings.
What convinces these folks to risk hypothermia in the name of conservation — aside from serious bragging rights? According to Nora, working right by the river raises environmental awareness. “I think it’s a constant reminder to us to make sure that we do everything that we possibly can,” she explains.
© OLG Casino Point Edward
© OLG Casino Point Edward

The WWF adoption kits don’t hurt either. The casino’s Bet on Green team awards each dipper one of our irresistible stuffed animals, presented with plenty of hoopla at a big staff meeting.
Trivia contests, draws and plenty of cheerleaders up the fun quotient, while the local newspaper and radio station come out to cover the dip. “There’s a lot of awareness that takes place,” says Nora. “To me it’s so satisfying. It’s so worthwhile.”
That’s why keeping things fresh isn’t an issue: many of the dippers have barely dried off before they start asking about next year’s event.
“I just couldn’t be prouder of these folks that take the plunge,” says Nora.
That goes double for us! Hats off to Rob Lucier,Sean Clarke,
Mike Ward, 
Babette Healy, Tim Coyne, 
Chris Luke, Harold Coffin and
Keegan Coffin — and to OLG Casino Point Edward’s fabulous Bet on Green team.