Baltimore (May 6, 2017) – Tompkins Conservation leader Kristine McDivitt Tompkins has received one of the highest honors bestowed by The Garden Club of America (GCA), the Cynthia Pratt Laughlin Medal. The medal, presented to Kristine at the GCA’s annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, recognizes outstanding achievement in environmental protection and the maintenance of the quality of life.
In honoring Kristine, the GCA hailed her as “a woman of unparalleled vision, determination, resilience and generosity” and “one of the most important wilderness protectors of our day whose work and intellect influence the global conservation field.”
On March 15, 2017, Kristine and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet signed a pledge to dramatically expand national parklands in Chile by approximately 10 million acres. When fully executed the agreement will create five new national parks – including two crown jewels of Tompkins Conservation’s park creation work, Pumalín Park and Patagonia Park, and the one million acres and world-class infrastructure they contain – and expand three others. The proposal includes the largest land donation in history from a private entity to a country; the total area to be protected, via this private land donation plus government land, is three times the size of Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks combined.
“Kristine is an adventurer whose experiences in wild places led to a commitment to protect the wilderness that remains and to encourage future generations to experience wild nature,” said the GCA in honoring her. “Over the past 20 years, she has accomplished more than many nations in establishing a network of new parks, expanding existing ones and linking them into wildlife corridors. She has promoted sustainable agriculture and the creation of employment opportunities within and around the parks to help the local population and to gain local support for the parks. She stayed true to her vision of saving wild nature from extinction.”
Cynthia Pratt Laughlin (1910-85), a member of Southampton Garden Club in New York, endowed this medal in 1979. Noted Delaware sculptor Charles Cropper Parks designed the medal, and previous recipients include former president of The Nature Conservancy Patrick F. Noonan (1984), The Outdoor Circle, the leading organization protecting the beauty of Hawai’i (1985), writer, environmental activist and farmer Wendell E. Berry (2008), the U.S. Green Building Council (2009) and The Pollinator Partnership (2011).
Kristine was nominated for the award by Corbin Harwood, member of the Garden Club of Chevy Chase, Maryland.
The GCA is a nonprofit national organization composed of 200 clubs with nearly 18,000 members who devote energy and expertise to projects in their communities and across the United States. Founded in 1913, the GCA is a leader in horticulture, conservation and civic improvement. (www.gcamerica.org)