Kristine McDivitt Tompkins
Tompkins in 2012
Kristine McDivitt Wear
Douglas Tompkins (m. 1993–2015)
Kristine McDivitt Tompkins (born in 1950, née Wear) is an American conservationist and former CEO of Patagonia, Inc. She is the widow of businessman and conservationist Douglas Tompkins, who died in 2015. The two worked together to create large wilderness conservation areas in Chile and Argentina. Kris continues with strong efforts in South America today, alongside those who have been with the various areas from the beginning, working to revert the lands to their original state.
For the most part, Tompkins grew up on her family ranch south of Santa Barbara, California, centered in Ventura County although she spent some early years in Venezuela, where her father worked for an oil company. At age 15, she met and befriended rock climbing legend and equipment manufacturer Yvon Chouinard; he gave her a summer job working for Chouinard Equipment. After finishing college at the College of Idaho in Caldwell, where she ski-raced competitively, she started to work full-time for what later became Patagonia, Inc.
Beginning in 1973, Tompkins helped Yvon Chouinard turn his fledgling piton business into Patagonia, Inc. In 1980, Patagonia started to donate 10 percent of their profits to environmental organizations such as Earth First! In 1984, the company formed the "One Percent for the Planet Club", which donates either 1% of sales or 10% of profits—whichever is greater—to environmental causes.
In the early 1990s, Tompkins retired from Patagonia, married Douglas Tompkins (founder of The North Face and Esprit), turned her entrepreneurial talents to saving natural beauty and diversity in Chile and Argentina. Together, they protected more land than any other private individuals—more than two million acres. Their first project was the creation of Pumalin Park, a public-access 800,000-acre nature reserve in Chile’s Los Lagos Region. The park, a project of the Conservation Land Trust, is a private initiative to create a public-access nature preserve in the threatened Valdivian temperate rainforest. The Tompkinses later launched conservation efforts in the Iberá Wetlands of Northeastern Argentina. In the wetland ecosystem, they have launched projects to reintroduce extirpated species, such as the giant anteater.
In 2000, Kris founded Conservación Patagónica (CP), an NGO focused on creating new national parks in Patagonia that protect and restore wildlands, biodiversity, and communities. CP's first project was the establishment of Monte Leon National Park, Argentina’s first coastal national park. In 2001, CP purchased Estancia Monte León, one of the oldest sheep ranches in the Argentine Patagonia, located on the southern Atlantic shoreline a few hundred miles north of the Strait of Magellan. Monte León had long been one of the priorities for Argentine National Parks because of its richness and diversity of species, including Magellanic penguins, sea lions, elephant seals, leopard seals, and several migratory seabirds. CP purchased this 155,000-acre (630 km2) estancia, crafted a master plan for its transition to a national park and, in 2002, donated the property to the Argentine National Parks Administration, creating the Monte León National Park, the first coastal national park in Argentina.
In 2003, CP had the opportunity to purchase Estancia Valle Chacabuco, a historic sheep ranch in Chile's Aysén Region. The Chilean National Parks had made this ranch their number-one conservation priority for more than 35 years because it sits between two existing National Reserves, namely Jeinimeni and Tamango, together 460,000 acres (1,900 km2). This area is prime habitat for the endangered huemul deer, one of Chile's national animals. After developing a public-access infrastructure system, including a trail system, visitor center, campgrounds, lodging, and a restaurant, CP will donate Patagonia Park to the Chilean park service. Along with the two adjoining National Reserves, this will become the Patagonia National Park, a flagship park for Latin America. Stretching between two of the country's largest lakes, Lago General Carrera and Lago Cochrane, the future park contains an impressive diversity of landscapes: arid Patagonian steppe, Southern Beech forests, wetlands, high peaks, alpine lakes, and streams. As the president of CP, Tompkins has been heavily involved in every aspect of this project, from landscape restoration to infrastructure construction.
Kris continues her efforts alongside a team of skilled individuals who work in the areas of South America they have not reached yet. The lands they work to perfect back to their original state were used in the past for animal grazing along with other practices farmers chose to do during that time. This information is presented in a more descriptive way above, but the fact that she and her team are some of the few throughout the world practicing this movement is something of huge environmental impact for the better.
List of Awards and Honors Received by Kristine Tompkins
- 2009 Honorary Degree, College of Idaho
- 2007 Gold Steward Award, International Conservation Caucus Foundation
- 2008 World Rainforest Award, Rainforest Action Network
- 2008 Environmental Award, Bruno H. Schubert Foundation
- 2010 International Visionary Award, Scenic Hudson
- 2010 International BAUM Special Award, B.A.U.M (German Association for Environmental Management)
- 2012 New Species Award, African Rainforest Conservancy
- 2013 Conservation Achievement Award, Bird Life International
- 2015 Long View Conservation Award, Mohonk Preserve, NY
- 2015 Global Economy Prize, Kiel Institute for the World Economy
- 2017 Outdoor Inspiration Awards at Outdoor Retailer - Lifetime Achievement Award
- Kris Tompkins, Former Patagonia CEO: "Impact is What Counts" – The Wharton Journal Archived January 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- Jonathan Franklin (2015-12-09). "Douglas Tompkins, co-founder of North Face, dies after Chile kayak accident". the Guardian. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
- Foundation for Deep Ecology, The First Ten Years
- "Tompkins Conservation | About Kristine Tompkins and Douglas Tompkins". www.tompkinsconservation.org. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
- Edward Humes, Eco Barons (New York: Harper Collins, 2009)
- "Leadership, Patagonia-style: Changing the Criteria for Success". Knowledge@Wharton. 31 October 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
- XX Factor: Visionaries Archived 2010-09-24 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Pleistocene Park" emerges from Patagonia's rescued grasslands – 1996–2010 National Geographic Society Archived 2010-02-28 at the Wayback Machine.
- The philanthropists 'paying rent' to planet Earth in Argentina – CNN
- Patagonia Land Trust Current Projects
- Patagonia Environmentalism: Essay
- "Conservacion Patagonica :: Creating the Future Patagonia National Park in Chile". www.conservacionpatagonica.org. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
- "Tompkins Conservation | Awards". www.tompkinsconservation.org. Retrieved 2016-08-30.
- "Honoring Visionary Conservationists | Scenic Hudson". www.scenichudson.org. Retrieved 2016-08-30.
- "Home - ARC". africanrainforest.org. Retrieved 2016-08-30.
- International, BirdLife. "BirdLife Conservation Achievement Awards recognise oustanding [sic] work for species, sites and habitats | BirdLife". www.birdlife.org. Retrieved 2016-08-30.
- Preserve, Mohonk. "Mohonk Preserve Honors Leading International Conservationists At New York City Benefit Gala". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2016-08-30.
- "2015 Global Economy Prize". www.ifw-kiel.de. Retrieved 2016-08-30.
- "2017 Winners Announced for Seventh Annual Outdoor Inspiration Awards Presented by Adidas Outdoor". www.outdoorretailer.com. Retrieved 2017-03-08.