Murie Ranch

Front Porch Series

Welcome to Mardy's Front Porch

Olaus and Mardy Murie hosted some of the nation’s most influential conservationists on their front porch. Teton Science Schools continues the tradition by gathering on Mardy’s front porch to host discussions and performers connected to nature, conservation, and the Murie legacy. This summer, the Murie Front Porch Concerts and Conversations will host the Grand Teton Music Festival, local musicians, and speakers who are experts in their field. Please join us for seven distinct evening programs this summer.

Programming begins at 5:45 pm until about 7:00 pm. Admission to this event is FREE. Rain/warm layers are advised. Lawn chairs are optional. Parking is limited; We highly encourage you to park at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitors Center, which is a short walk to the Murie Ranch.

Front Porch Concerts and Conversations

2024 Featured Presenters

Isaac Hayden nationally acclaimed singer and songwriter. Isaac Hayden finds inspiration in his surroundings after being raised on the San Juan Islands in Washington State and Jackson, Wyoming.

Winds in the Breeze, hosted by Meaghan Heinrich.  

Jonathan Gentry, oboe
Juan de Gomar, contrabassoon
Jeffrey Dyrda, violin
Caroline Gilbert, viola
Andrew David Larson, cello
Meaghan Heinrich, host

Mozart: Quartet for Oboe and Strings
Bernard Garfield: Quartet for Bassoon and Strings

Experience the sounds of the highest and lowest members of the double reed family in two
delightful chamber works for winds and strings, perfect for a serene summer afternoon.

Katherine E. Standefer‘s debut book Lightning Flowers: My Journey to Uncover the Cost of Saving a Life was a Finalist for the Kirkus Prize in Nonfiction, a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice/Staff Pick, and shortlisted for the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Prize from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Lightning Flowers was also selected as the Common Read at Colorado College in ’22-’23, featured on NPR’s Fresh Air, and named one of O, The Oprah Magazine‘s Best Books of Fall 2020. Standefer earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at the University of Arizona. She has been a Logan Nonfiction Fellow at the Carey Institute for Global Good and a Marion Weber Healing Arts Fellow at the Mesa Refuge. Her work was included in The Best American Essays 2016. Standefer began spending summers in Jackson Hole in 2000. She was a Murie Center intern in 2006 and helped steward the ranch during an organizational transition in 2008 She currently lives in a cabin in Alpine, Wyoming.

Sara Flitner has more than 25 years of experience in organizational strategy, leadership innovation, and authentic communication. As a trained and certified mediator, she built Flitner Strategies, Inc. to help people solve hard problems. Using science-backed tools that build focus and resilience, Flitner is known for getting results. After serving as mayor of Jackson, Wyoming, she founded Becoming Jackson Whole, a nonprofit centered on mindfulness tools to reduce stress, increase resilience, and facilitate more compassionate dialogue in an effort to create positive change on a community-wide scale. She has served on many local and regional boards, including the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, the Environmental Quality Council, First Interstate Bank Foundation, CLIMB Wyoming, and Center for the Arts.  In 2021 the Wyoming Women’s Council recognized her as “Entrepreneur of the Year.” A native of Shell, Sara’s two college-aged sons are five generations deep in Wyoming. Sara spends her free time with them, or in the mountains – on skis, a mountain bike, or with dogs.

Local nonprofit Tumbleweed Creative Arts will be presenting excerpts and songs from its musical, “The Importance of Wild Country”, which premiered May 2024 at the Pink Garter Theatre, and featured the story of Olaus and Mardy Murie and the local ecosystem they worked to preserve. Featuring a narrative led by TCA Artistic Director, Andrew Munz, and original songs performed by both local songwriters and actors, the night will celebrate the power and importance of bridging art and the natural world. Tolan’s heartfelt songwriting is complemented by Mosenthal’s harmonies to produce a honeyed, down-to-earth sound. Multi-instrumentalist Tolan is also a member of the Telluride, CO-based Americana quartet Birds of Play. Jack released his first solo EP Snacks in January 2020 which features Kia’s distinctive vocal harmonies.

Driggs, ID-based folk duo Jack & Kia consists of Coloradan Jack Tolan and New Hampshire native Kia Mosenthal. The duo’s intimate, acoustic style is inspired by their mutual love of wild spaces and organic soundscapes. Tolan’s heartfelt songwriting is complemented by Mosenthal’s harmonies to produce a honeyed, down-to-earth sound. Multi-instrumentalist Tolan is also a member of the Telluride, CO-based Americana quartet Birds of Play. Jack released his first solo EP Snacks in January 2020 which features Kia’s distinctive vocal harmonies.

Marta Krechkovsky, violin
Annie Chen, violin
Joseph McFadden, bass
Meaghan Heinrich, host

Program to include:
Tessa Lark and Michael Thurber: Cedar and Sage

Inspired by the conversational nature of Mardy Murie’s writings and gatherings, join us for a front porch concert like no other with solos, duos, and trios for violin and bass. Shostakovich interspersed with stories from Olaus and Mardie Murie’s tireless efforts to save the integrity of their beloved wilderness.

Walker Young is an internationally recognized musician who has played intimate performances and sold-out stadium tours across the country over the past couple decades.

Walker lives here in Jackson Hole with his wife, Brianna and two girls, Lady and Dakota soaking in the wild frontier spirit of Wyoming. Honored to be sharing his music for the second year on the Murie front porch he will be playing original tunes that blend southern rock, country, and soul music on Mardy Muries very own piano. 

Evan Griffith is the author of the middle-grade novels Manatee Summer and The Strange Wonders of Roots (both Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selections) and the picture book biographies Secrets of the Sea: The Story of Jeanne Power, Revolutionary Marine Scientist and Wild at Heart: The Story of Olaus and Mardy Murie, Defenders of Nature. His books have received multiple starred reviews and been recognized as Bank Street’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, National Science Teachers Association Best Stem Books, and Chicago Public Library’s Best Informational Books for Younger Readers. Evan studied creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his MFA in Writing for Children at the Vermont College of Fine Arts where he now serves as faculty. He worked for several years as an editor at Workman Publishing in New York City, where he specialized in non-fiction for children and adults, and he continues to take on select editorial projects. He often teaches online writing classes and enjoys mentoring writers of all ages. He lives in Austin, Texas with a mischievous tuxedo cat and several overflowing bookshelves.

Mardy and Olaus Murie fell in love in–and with–Alaska. Then set out on an adventure across the Arctic for Olaus’s work as a biologist, encountering the beauty and danger of the wilds along the way. They learned from Indigenous communities to appreciate the interconnectedness of all living creatures and understood that the way humans were moving in on wild land was threatening the natural world. So they shifted the focus of their work to conservation, fighting to protect the land and animals–and lobbying for the creation of what finally became the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, nine thousand square miles of protected land! Mardy and Olaus’s story of passion and hard work will inspire all readers to fan their spark of purpose into flame. Backmatter includes additional information on Mardy and Olaus, their legacy, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and more.