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Iberá National Park Established by Argentine Congress

New combined protected area forms largest nature park in Argentina

Photo Credit: Juan Ramón Díaz Colodraro

Photo Credit: Juan Ramón Díaz Colodraro

PRESS RELEASE

December 5, 2018 — Buenos Aires, Argentina

On December 5, 2018, the Congress of Argentina passed legislation approving the creation of Iberá National Park, located in northeastern Argentina, ensuring the long-term conservation of the almost 395,000 acres it encompasses. Douglas and Kristine Tompkins established the two foundations through which this land was donated: Conservation Land Trust (CLT) and Flora and Fauna Argentina. The Argentine Congress has now ratified this land’s long-term protection, consistent with Argentina and President Mauricio Macri’s goals to increase Argentina’s protected areas.  It is estimated that in 10 years, Iberá Park will receive more than 100,000 visitors each year, promoting economic prosperity as a result of conservation.

The new national park adds to the adjacent 1.3-million-acre Iberá Provincial Park. At a combined approximately 1.76-million acres, Iberá Park is now the largest nature park in Argentina and one of the most biologically diverse areas of the country. Centered on the great Iberá marshlands of Corrientes Province (one of the largest freshwater wetlands complexes in South America), Iberá Park’s diverse habitats of water, grasslands, and forest are home to some 4,000 species of flora and fauna (almost 30 percent of the total recognized in Argentina). The park is also home to the most ambitious program of “rewilding”—efforts to restore natural processes and reintroduce missing species—in South America.

“Today is a day to celebrate,” said Kristine Tompkins, president of Tompkins Conservation. “For the wildlife at home here, for the people of Argentina, and for future generations who will experience this amazing landscape’s beauty and biodiversity, the new park’s designation is a great victory.”

Photo Credit: Juan Ramón Díaz Colodraro

Photo Credit: Juan Ramón Díaz Colodraro

Congressional approval of the law establishing the park reflects collaboration between Tompkins Conservation’s CLT Argentina team, the national and provincial governments, and various other institutions, in addition to the support of Iberá’s surrounding communities.

“After many years of work, the vision of the people of Corrientes and Doug Tompkins to create Iberá National Park is finally fulfilled,” said Sofía Heinonen, Executive Director of CLT Argentina. “With the proclamation of this new National Park, together with the neighboring Provincial Park, the natural and cultural heritage of Iberá is fully protected. The result is a world-class tourist attraction for birding and wildlife watching.”

Photo Credit: Juan Ramón Díaz Colodraro

Photo Credit: Juan Ramón Díaz Colodraro

 About Tompkins Conservation:

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 help protect wild nature. The Tompkinses concluded that creating large national parks where evolutionary processes could take their course was the most effective way to combat biodiversity loss. National parks represent the “gold standard” of conservation, offering a unique set of ecological, cultural, ​​and economic benefits. To date, the organization and its partners including local and national governments, nongovernmental organizations, scientists, activists, and fellow conservationists have protected roughly 13 million acres of parklands in Chile and Argentina. Tompkins Conservation is the leader in the Americas in “rewilding”—restoring ecosystems and reintroducing wildlife that has disappeared from a region because of human pressures.

Press Contact:

Marian Labourt

cltprensa@gmail.com

Photo Credit: Matías Rebak

Photo Credit: Matías Rebak

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New Museum and Visitor Center in Patagonia Park Unveiled

Located in the Aysén region of Chilean Patagonia, the new Patagonia Park Museum and Visitor Center combines the aesthetics of a nineteenth century museum of natural history with modern technology and attractive, interactive elements.

Why National Parks? This is the question explored in the new Patagonia Park Museum and Visitor Center, which interactively presents the landscape and cultural history of the Chacabuco Valley, incorporating a moving and inspiring story about the importance of National Parks and ecological loss and recovery.

Photo Credit: Linde Waidhofer

Photo Credit: Linde Waidhofer

Located in the commune of Cochrane within Chile’s Aysén region, the new Museum and Visitor Center combines the aesthetics of a nineteenth-century museum of natural history with modern technology and interactive elements. It is composed of a large central room that is subdivided into four areas that cover the ecosocial crisis, nature, culture, and activism, as well as an experiential space with an audiovisual show.

The interpretive center was opened by Tompkins Conservation President Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, who noted: “This Visitor Center was Doug’s dream that emerged more than 10 years ago, and today, has become a reality thanks to the people and foundations that supported this initiative. With this museum, we want to generate a culture of conservation, inviting visitors to be inspired by the beauty of the park and to get closer to Patagonia’s great natural and cultural heritage.”

Photo Credit: Linde Waidhofer

Photo Credit: Linde Waidhofer

In this regard, the Executive Director of CONAF, José Manuel Rebolledo, stressed that “through the exhibition and educational story of this center, the aim is to make people aware of how biodiversity is being impacted globally, and the collective action we must take to avoid its progressive deterioration. All of this reveals the public and educational value of protected areas and national parks, while also recovering the history of the area.”

Photo Credit: Linde Waidhofer

Photo Credit: Linde Waidhofer

This Visitor Center is inaugurated on the eve of Patagonia Park becoming an official National Park. At over 750,000 acres, Patagonia National Park will include land donated by Tompkins Conservation; the Jeinimeni and Tamango reserves; plus federal land from the government of Chile.

The museum is open to the public and admission is free. 

Details:

LOCATION:

Patagonia Park, Cochrane, Aysén Region, Chile

HOURS:

Monday – Friday:  9:00-13:00 and 14:00-17:30
Saturday and Sunday:  9:00- 13:00 and 14:30-18:00

(Enter until 30 minutes before the center closes.)

SURFACE AREA:

762 square meters

MUSEOGRAPHY:

Experience Project

ARCHITECTS:

Francisco Morandé Ruiz-Tagle – Douglas R. Tompkins

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Kristine McDivitt Tompkins Receives Recognition from Chilean-North American Chamber of Commerce

Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, President of Tompkins Conservation, was honored for her “Lifetime Contribution to the Wildlands of Chile” at the North American-Chilean Chamber of Commerce’s (NACCC) 100th anniversary celebration.

Various authorities—such as the Ambassador of Chile in the United States, his Excellency Alfonso Silva Navarro, and Roberto de Andraca, former President of the CAP Business Directory—participated in this event, which took place on Wednesday, October 10, 2018, in New York City. The President of the NACCC, Manuelita Cody, led the event.

Photo Credit: NACCC – North American-Chilean Chamber of Commerce

On this special ocassion, the North American-Chilean Chamber of Commerce paid special tribute to three individuals who have contributed to the relationship between Chile and the United States. One of them was Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, who was also the keynote speaker at the event. “I am very proud to receive this recognition on behalf of the entire Tompkins Conservation team. Chile is recognized worldwide for its conservation leadership, thanks to the tremendous public and private efforts that have allowed more than 20% of the country’s territory to be protected. We will continue to work on conservation in Chile and promote the Route of Parks of Chilean Patagonia,” said the philanthropist, who along with her husband Douglas Tompkins have helped create 13 national parks in Chile and Argentina through Tompkins Conservation.

Photo Credit: NACCC – North American-Chilean Chamber of Commerce

The other winners honored that evening were Alfredo Ergas, who received the “Executive of the Year” award, and Lester Zifrren, who received a special posthumous acknowledgment as “Historic Executive Director of the Chilean-North American Chamber of Commerce.”

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Campaign Promoting Route of Parks of Chilean Patagonia Launches

Tompkins Conservation and Imagen de Chile launched an initiative that seeks to promote Chilean Patagonia’s scenic 1,700-mile route, located between Puerto Montt and Cape Horn, and its 17 national parks and more than 60 surrounding communities.

Photo Credit: Weston Boyles

Photo Credit: Weston Boyles

Let Chile be recognized as a global example of tourism based on conservation. That is the ambition behind the Route of Parks of Chilean Patagonia campaign, launched by Tompkins Conservation and Imagen de Chile. The project seeks to promote the 1,700-mile route located between Puerto Montt and Cape Horn, along with the 17 National Parks and over 60 surrounding communities it encompasses, integrating the Carretera Austral, the Patagonian Channels, and the End of the World Route.

“We want Chile to be internationally recognized for having the most spectacular scenic route in the world, and thus become a benchmark for economic development based on conservation. The Route of Parks is a protected heritage of all Chileans, and its 17 national parks are a challenge and an opportunity, as much for the more than 60 communities that live near them as for those who visit them,” explained Carolina Morgado, Executive Director of Tompkins Conservation Chile, at a conference organized by Imagen de Chile.

Photo Credit: Rafael Pérez

Photo Credit: Rafael Pérez

In this regard, Jorge Cortés, Executive Director of Image of Chile stressed that, “abroad we are recognized as a destination ‘rich in natural beauty,’ as well as for being ‘exciting’ and ‘fascinating,’ so these parks will reinforce the global positioning of our extreme geography, especially in a sustainable framework.”

The campaign includes the new web page, www.rutadelosparques.org, which will provide all of those traveling to Patagonia with unique information about the territory, as well as suggested excursions, transportation tips, accommodation, and more than 50 trails tracked with GPS.

Photo Credit: Augusto Dominguez

Photo Credit: Augusto Dominguez

A contest was also announced, inviting participants to share an experience in 101-words about how national parks have changed their lives. The prize will be a tour for two people spanning much of the Route. The stories submitted will be collected and serve as the basis for a digital book.

Tompkins Conservation, together with other organizations, is exploring the feasibility of raising a private fund to contribute to the development of the Route of Parks, as other countries such as Costa Rica and Brazil have done.

Route of Parks Figures:

  • 17 National Parks
  • More than 60 communities
  • 1,700 miles, spanning from Puerto Montt to Cape Horn
  • 3 regions of Chile: Los Lagos, Aysén, and Magallanes
  • Over 28.4 million acres protected
  • 91% of the territory is categorized as national parkland
  • 140 species of birds
  • 46 species of mammals

National Parks Within the Route of Parks:

  1. Alerce Andino National Park
  2. Hornopirén National Park
  3. Pumalín National Park – Douglas R. Tompkins
  4. Corcovado National Park
  5. Melimoyu National Park
  6. Queulat National Park
  7. Isla Magdalena National Park
  8. Laguna San Rafael National Park
  9. Cerro Castillo National Park
  10. Patagonia National Park
  11. Bernardo O´Higgins National Park
  12. Kawésqar National Park
  13. Torres del Paine National Park
  14. Pali-Aike National Park
  15. Alberto de Agostini National Park
  16. Yendegaia National Park
  17. Cabo de Hornos National Park

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Kristine McDivitt Tompkins and Pope Francis Meet for First Time

President of Tompkins Conservation supports the expansion of the concept of “peace” to include peace between humans and the non-human world

Photo Credit: Servizio Fotografico Vaticano

VATICAN CITY (July 6, 2018) — Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, President and Cofounder of Tompkins Conservation, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican earlier this week.  Mrs. Tompkins was invited to a private audience with the Pope to discuss terrestrial and marine conservation, as well as strategies to generate economic development and prosperity from conservation in local communities.

Mrs. Tompkins sought Pope Francis’s thoughts on the idea that it is time to expand the concept of peace so that it not only refers to human interactions, but also peace between the human and non-human worldthat all life has intrinsic value and until there is true balance between all species and an equilibrium in our planetary ecosystem, human communities will not reach a peaceful and healthy existence.

Mrs. Tompkins and Pope Francis were joined by Sofia Heinonen, Director of Tompkins Conservation (TC) and The Conservation Land Trust (CLT). Tompkins and Heinonen discussed the programs TC and CLT have been leading in Chile and Argentina for the last 26 years that are dedicated to terrestrial and marine conservation and ecosystem restoration; rewilding protected areas; reintroducing locally-extinct species to their native range; and fostering economic development across communities connected to these conservation efforts.

The value of the creation of Peace Parks, in keeping with the values of the 2015 Laudato si’ Encyclical about working toward the “care of our common home,” was discussed and a dream of an emblematic Bi-Oceanic Peace Park in southern Chile and Argentina was thought interesting, as 40 years ago, Pope John Paul II mediated peace between the two countries.

The teams of Tompkins Conservation in Chile, Argentina and the United States are grateful and honored for the opportunity to have their work represented to Pope Francis and that Mrs. Tompkins could meet and discuss many areas of interest with His Holiness Pope Francis.

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. To date, the organization has created 13 national parks and protected 13 million acres of national parklands with its partners. For more information, visit: www.tompkinsconservation.org

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. The Tompkinses ultimately 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. In May 2018, Kristine Tompkins was designated UN Environment Patron of Protected Areas.

Media Contact:

Erin Louie Billman, Global Communications Director, Tompkins Conservation

louie@tompkinsconservation.org

+1 415 277 1846

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