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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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