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:

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

+1 415 277 1846

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