President of Chile and CEO of Tompkins Conservation Sign Decrees Creating 10 Million Acres of New National Parks

This includes Tompkins Conservation’s two flagship parks, Patagonia and Pumalín

PRESS RELEASE

January 29, 2018 — Patagonia Park, Chile

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, President and CEO of Tompkins Conservation, today signed the decrees creating Pumalín National Park and Patagonia National Park Chile. The one million acres and world-class infrastructure they contain have been billed as the largest donation of land from a private entity to a country.

This marks the culmination of the pledge that President Michelle Bachelet and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins signed in March 2017 to create a network of five new national parks in Chile and the expansion of three others. Together, they are adding a total of more than 10 million acres of new national parklands to Chile, with one million acres of land from Tompkins Conservation and an additional 9 million acres of federal land from Chile. For scale, that is more than three times the size of Yosemite and Yellowstone combined, or approximately the size of the country of Switzerland.

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The Chacabuco Valley, Patagonia Park. Photo: James Q Martin

The signing of these decrees cements Chile as one of the global leaders in conservation today, a vision which President Bachelet touched on in her speech today. “With these beautiful lands, their forests, their rich ecosystems, we…expand the network of parks to more than 10 million acres. Thus, national parklands in Chile will increase by 38.5% to account for 81.1% of Chile’s protected areas.”

“I am proud of my husband Doug and his vision which continues to guide us, in addition to our entire team, for completing these two national parks and the broader network, a major milestone of our first 25 years of work,” Kristine Tompkins said. “While we will continue to help promote and safeguard these parks, we are beginning to turn our attention to more new conservation and rewilding projects in Chile and Argentina as we work to save and restore big, wild and connected ecosystems.”

Patagonia National Park Chile and Pumalín National Park will be key destinations in the network of parks of Chilean Patagonia. These parks are already open to the public, welcoming visitors from Chile and around the world to experience Patagonia’s natural beauty, which will now be permanently protected for all visitors and the creatures that call these parks home.

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Pumalín Park. Photo: James Q Martin

From its inception, Tompkins Conservation’s objective has been to donate privately acquired land to parks systems to be protected at the highest level of conservation for generations to come. To date, the organization and its partners have protected roughly 13 million acres of land to parks systems in Chile and Argentina, where they have worked with local and national governments, nongovernmental organizations, scientists, activists, conservationists and their local staff to achieve permanent conservation.

About Tompkins Conservation: Tompkins Conservation collaborates with the governments of Chile and Argentina, local organizations, and communities to create national parks— places of beauty, abundant wildlife, and recreation that serve as sources of income and pride to neighboring communities and the entire nation. For more information see tompkinsconservation.org/whoweare or visit us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Pumalín Park. Photo: James Q Martin

Tompkins Conservation was founded by Kristine and Douglas (1943–2015) Tompkins, business leaders from iconic American clothing brands including The North Face, Esprit, and Patagonia, Inc., who changed the course of their lives more than 25 years ago to devote their funds, time, and passion to fight the biggest crisis in the world: biodiversity loss. After careful analysis, Kristine and Douglas concluded that creating large national parks where evolutionary processes could take their course was the most effective way to combat this loss. National parks represent the “gold standard” of biodiversity conservation, offering a unique set of ecological attributes, cultural values, ​​and economic benefits to local communities, while also guaranteeing long-term conservation. Tompkins Conservation is the leader in the Americas in what is known as “rewilding,” restoring natural ecosystems and reintroducing wildlife that has disappeared from a region because of human pressures.

Press Contact:

Alison Kelman

Communications Director

alison.kelman@tompkinsconservation.org

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Patagonia Park. Photo: James Q Martin

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Cerro Castillo Becomes a National Park; Isla Magdalena is Expanded

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Cerro Castillo National Park. Photo: Jimmy Chin

On October 2, on Chile’s National Environment Day, President Michelle Bachelet signed the decree creating Cerro Castillo National Park and extending Isla Magdalena National Park. The re-categorization of Cerro Castillo National Park, formerly a national reserve, will not only increase the protection status of this refuge for huemul deer, but will also protect one of the most distinctive landscapes in the region of Aysén. This decree will also create a destination for tourists that will directly benefit the towns of Puerto Ibáñez and Villa Cerro Castillo.

With the creation and expansion of these two parks, the process initiated by the Protocol of Agreement signed on March 15, 2017 between the Government and Tompkins Conservation has officially started. The Protocol calls for the creation of the “Network of National Parks of Chilean Patagonia,” which will add more than 10 million acres of national parklands. This is the largest creation of national parks in the last 50 years; a public-private effort, an historic legacy and hopefully an impetus for the consolidation of a system of protected areas on a global level.

As said by the President during the signing of these decrees, “Someone might ask: Is this an extravagance or a luxury, perhaps?” Like her, we think not, because this protection makes these places available to national and foreign visitors and opens up opportunities for economic development for the surrounding towns, through nature tourism and associated services.

Tourism stands as the main economic driver and the most sustainable option for these regions. National parks are the best way to increase the value of a landscape, and to make known the international recognition and to make known these attributes from a conservation instrument of long tradition and international recognition.

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Tompkins Conservation Donates an Additional 103,000+ Acres of Land to Iberá Park in Argentina

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Photo: Rafa Abuín

PRESS RELEASE

November 10, 2017 — Corrientes Province, Argentina

On November 10, 2017, the future Iberá National Park in San Nicolás, Argentina, gained over 103,000 additional acres of land as part of a new, historic donation from Tompkins Conservation. On Friday, November 10, at 11 a.m., Kristine McDivitt Tompkins made this milestone transfer of land, the second major donation from Tompkins Conservation to expand Iberá Park.  These donations to Iberá Park, along with the adjacent Iberá Provincial Park, will form the largest parklands in Argentina.

This donation is part of a broader plan signed in 2016 by Tompkins Conservation and the provincial and national governments of Argentina to form the grand Iberá Park, a protected area that will measure a total of more than 1.7 million acres– which is more than twice the size of Yosemite National Park. Of these 1.7 million acres of contiguous protected parklands, almost 1.36 million acres acres will come from Iberá Provincial Park and 370,000 acres will come from Tompkins Conservation.

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Video by Rafa Abuín: “Land Donation to Iberá Park”

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Iberá Park, Corrientes, Argentina. Photo: Juan Rámon Díaz Colodrero

While today Tompkins Conservation is celebrating their donation to and the expansion of Iberá parklands, this is not the only park in their conservation portfolio. Through Tompkins Conservation, Kristine Tompkins and her late husband, Douglas Tompkins, have spent the last quarter century investing $345 million to establish extensive protected areas in Argentina and Chile. To date, they have created six national parks, with five more currently in process. With on-the-ground teams and projects in both countries, they are currently focused on their pledge with Chilean president Michelle Bachelet to create 10 million acres, which is three times the size of Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks combined, of new national parks in Chile.

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San Nicolás, November 10, 2017. Photo: Rafa Abuín

Fueled by a sense of urgency and responsibility, as well as a deep commitment to natural beauty and strong connection to South America, Kris is proud of the work that Tompkins Conservation has accomplished to date and has in store over the coming year. “All of us who love the Earth can see how the threats to wild places and creatures are growing. Conservationists know there is tremendous and urgent need and have incredible opportunities to expand national park systems, to work with local communities linking ecotourism-related economic development and nature protection, and to help build a culture of conservation throughout society. This is crucial work–it’s the work we’ve been doing for decades now and will be doing with all of our energy and resources long into the future.”

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Photo: Rafa Abuín

Iberá Park serves as a shining example of natural and cultural preservation, thanks to its successful rewilding and species reintroduction projects and how it has benefited local communities. Various ongoing species reintroduction projects have already succeeded in bringing back anteaters, Pampas deer, tapirs, and peccaries, and are also supporting the return of green-winged macaws and jaguars. In recent years, Iberá Park has even been the greatest contributor to the local economy, fostering development from ecotourism and benefiting nearby localities, from Pellegrini, Concepción, and San Miguel, to Loreto, Villa Olivari and many others. Ecotourists and adventure-seekers can witness this work and experience the park firsthand by staying at Tompkins Conservation’s Hostería Rincón del Socorro, located in the heart of Iberá Park.

Press Contact:

Marian Labourt, Tompkins Conservation Argentina

mjlabourt@gmail.com

Tel: 54-11-48073976

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The team celebrates the donation with an afternoon picnic. Photo: Rafa Abuín

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Photo: Marisi López

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Kristine Tompkins Accepts the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

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On October 3rd, 2017, over 300 people gathered to celebrate the legacy of Andrew Carnegie, the “father of modern philanthropy,” and the nine esteemed Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy recipients. After processes into The New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building behind tradition Scottish bagpipes, Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation New York, introduced the medalists to the crowd.

“Indeed, the munificence of the Carnegie Medal recipients is not only remarkable, but awe-inspiring,” said Gregorian. “You are living examples of Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropic legacy and of those who have followed in his footsteps. You have all dedicated not only your personal wealth, but your reputations, your time, and your talents to causes of deep significance to you and to your communities: namely education, international peace, the environment, the arts, the protection of our democracy, and much, much more.”

Before the medals were presented, Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble took the stage to perform a selection of instrumental songs and dances. Master of ceremonies, Katty Kay from BBC World News America, came to the stage to introduce each medalist.

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Yo-Yo Ma and the Silkroad Ensemble. Photo: Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

“Today,” said Kay, “philanthropy is being called upon to play an even greater national and international role — in fighting poverty and other global ills, in funding research and development on issues like climate change and nuclear nonproliferation, and in sustaining democracy at home and around the world. Helping the people and the causes that need it most must always be the priority. Our former, current, and future medalists are all keenly aware of this.”

After Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest and Sir James Wolfensohn accepted their medals, Tompkins Conservation leader Kristine Tompkins took the stage, focusing her statements on the satisfaction she finds through her conservation philanthropy. “Getting up every day and focusing on the things we love has brought new dimensions into our personal lives that we never thought imaginable.”

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Kristine Tompkins surrounded by friends and supporters at the medal ceremony. Photo: Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Kris was then followed by Azim Premji, Shelby White, Mei Hing Chak, Julian Robertson, and Jeff Skoll, who have all committed their philanthropic efforts to making the world a better place. Surprise guest Big Bird joined Sherrie Westin (Executive VP, Sesame Workshop) and Dr. Gregorian on stage to tell the crowd about his Yellow Feather Fund, which brings educational materials to children in need all around the world.

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Big Bird with Vartan Gregorian, President, Carnegie Corporation of New York and Sherrie Westin, Executive VP, Sesame Workshop. Photo: Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Kay concluded the ceremony with a quote from Andrew Carnegie himself: “Wealth is not to feed our egos, but to feed the hungry and to help people help themselves.”

From everyone at Tompkins Conservation, congratulations to all of the medalists!

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Tompkins Conservation Extends its National Park Creation Efforts to the Ocean, with Two New Marine National Parks Proposed in Argentina

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An image from Tompkins Conservation’s communications campaign highlighting one of the Argentine Sea’s residents, the sevengill shark. Photo: Alejo Irigoyen

The government of Argentina announced last week that it will create two new marine national parks in the Southern Atlantic. Tompkins Conservation is proud to play a part in this effort, lending its expertise in conservation activism to catalyze their creation. This is an important first step for Argentina to protect its oceans, and a first step for Tompkins Conservation in ocean conservation.

“With this initiative, we extend our national park creation work from terrestrial conservation to oceanic. Establishing an ambitious system of marine national parks (in other words, no-take marine protected areas) is a way for Argentina to show global leadership in how a society can support the legitimate aspirations of its people while also being a good neighbor to our nonhuman neighbors who live in the sea,” says Kris Tompkins, leader of Tompkins Conservation.

Read further for the full story.


Argentinean Government Announces Creation of Two Large Marine Protected Areas in the Southern Atlantic 

Government seeks to reach 10% coverage of Marine Protected Areas by 2020

Buenos Aires, September 26, 2017 – Vice chief of Cabinet of Ministers, Mario Quintana, announced today the Federal Government will send a bill to the National Congress for the creation of two large marine protected areas close to the Southern tip of Argentina in the Southern Atlantic. The decision of the Government is a conclusion of many months of official meetings, technical debates and difficult negotiations among authorities from several ministries. During the meeting in the Pink House (e.g. Argentinean house of government), Governmental officers showed publicly their gratefulness with the civil society organizations that advocated for marine protected areas. Tompkins Conservation was mentioned several times, as it supported strongly decision-making by the Federal Government on this issue and also undertook a communications campaign in order to raise public support for ocean conservation.

Argentina’s jurisdictional waters cover 36% of the area of the country. However, less than three percent is included in marine protected areas. The existing marine reserves are all coastal but just one (Namuncurá – Burdwood Marine Protected Area, established in 2013) protects deep waters. As a signatory country of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the nation should reach at least a 10% protection rate of its waters by 2020.

The Government of President Mr. Mauricio Macri took the first step towards the establishment of a network of Marine Protected Areas in federal waters by appointing the National Parks Administration as the authority of the National System of Marine Protected Areas on June 8, 2017 (World Oceans Day). Tompkins Conservation together with other NGOs had been advocating for that first decision.

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Kris Tompkins meets with President Mauricio Macri of Argentina, August 2017. Photo: Government of Argentina

After many years of research and assessment, scientists and NGOs in the Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea identified the relevant areas for the conservation of biodiversity in the Argentine Sea. Tompkins Conservation, as leader of the campaign “Sin Azul No Hay Verde” (following the famous slogan by Sylvia Earle; “No Blue – No Green”) celebrates the announcement by the Government. The campaign will focus now on increasing awareness by the congress representatives towards the urgent need to enact the National Law that will create these two new Marine Protected Areas.

The bill establishes that there will be two new marine protected areas: the “Yaganes” Marine National Park, Strict National Marine Reserve and National Marine Reserve (69,000 km2) and the “Namuncurá – Burdwood Bank II” Strict National Marine Reserve and National Marine Reserve (29,000 km2). Both marine parks will be placed on the Southern Patagonian sea.

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This new marine park has rare, fragile and slow recovery species, such as cold water corals. It is a site of aggregation of the Malvinas sprat, of great ecological importance in the whole region. It has relevance as a foraging area for species of seabirds threatened at the global and national scales. There are many species of marine mammals (including threatened species) that feed or move through the area.

Marine Protected Areas have become a global trend, used as one of the most effective tools to mitigate climate change by protecting the habitats and species responsible for carbon sequestration and storage at sea. They also create a shelter for ocean ecosystems and ensure a sustainable fishery economy and the conservation of species of great interest for coastal tourism.

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