Teton Science Schools is proud to honor the Kingdom of Bhutan with the Murie Spirit of Conservation Award, for its dedication to environmental preservation, making it the first-ever country to receive the esteemed recognition. Her Majesty Tseyring Pem Wangchuck, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, will also be presented with the Champion of Rising Leaders Award in acknowledgment of her efforts in inspiring and nurturing the next generation of environmental leaders. Her Majesty will accept the Murie Spirit Award on behalf of Bhutan.
About the Award
The Murie Spirit of Conservation Awards is a celebration of conservation leadership. The Murie Ranch of Teton Science Schools honors individuals who have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to the protection of wildlife and wild places. Each year, Teton Science Schools selects recipients for The Murie Spirit of Conservation Award and the Murie Spirit of Conservation Rising Leader Award. The Spirit of Conservation Award is awarded to a person whose life work demonstrates a commitment to conservation, civility and community. The Rising Leader Award is given to outstanding young professionals in the field of conservation.
About the Ceremony
This year’s award ceremony will include a distinguished panel discussion on the environment and conservation. The panel discussion will be moderated by M. Margaret McKeown, Senior United States circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit based in San Diego and Teton Science Schools board trustee.
Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Tseyring Pem Wangchuck
Her Majesty the Queen Mother began her school education in India in St. Helen’s Convent in Kurseong Darjeeling District in the Indian State of West Bengal. Upon graduating from there, she married the Fourth King of Bhutan, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck.
In 1999, Her Majesty was requested to preside as the President of the Bhutan Youth Development Fund, which was founded by His Majesty in 1998. The Bhutan Youth Development Fund functions as an NGO, not-for-profit organization. This was a new concept for Bhutan, and with only a $1 million dollar endowment fund, Her leadership stirred the organization through difficult times, and today, it is recognized as one of the biggest and most credible civil society organizations. She pioneered and advocated many programs, which today are flagship programs under the Royal Government of Bhutan. She has mobilized philanthropists around the world and has raised funds for development programs in Bhutan.
The noble initiative of the Bhutan Foundation, founded by close friends of the Royal Family of Bhutan living abroad, was relaunched with Her Majesty as the co-chair. Today, the Bhutan Foundation is one of the most significant international organizations that supports programs in Bhutan.
Her Majesty gives the highest priority to children and their education, and the Ministry of Education in Bhutan has honored her contribution to quality education. Her strong belief that wholesome education makes a wholesome human being has driven her to start place-based education in Bhutan.
Murie Spirit of Conservation Panelist
Nestled amidst the Himalayan range, Bhutan is a landlocked nation situated between India and China. Its terrain is distinguished by rugged mountains and profound valleys, shaping the scattered distribution of its population.
Bhutan is firmly committed to environmental preservation and upholds the conservation of the environment as one of the four fundamental pillars of its Gross National Happiness philosophy. Bhutan’s steadfast commitment to preserving its natural heritage serves as an inspiring example for nations across the globe by setting a high standard for environmental stewardship, leaving a legacy for generations to come.
Highlights of The Murie Legacy
Previous awardees have included:
- Dr. Jane Goodall, Famed ethologist and global conservation icon
- Rose Marcario, Board Member, Advisor, and Former CEO of Patagonia, Inc.
- Robert Stanton, first African American to be appointed as Director of the National Park Service, serving from 1997-2001.
- Jimmy Chin, Academy Award-winning filmmaker, National Geographic photographer and mountain sports athlete.
- Bert Raynes, local conservation and wildlife advocate.
- Sally Jewell, Former US Secretary of the Interior under the Obama Administration.
- Harrison Ford, Actor and Vice-Chair of Conservation International, a global nonprofit dedicated to building a healthier, more prosperous and more productive planet.
- John Turner, a Jackson Hole native, conservationist and devotee of Olaus and Mardy Murie. Notably, former President of the Wyoming State Senate, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
- Luther Propst, Founder of The Sonoran Institute, conservation leader in policy and projects focused on core issues (sustainable water, land use, community development) that define how the West is growing and changing.
- Gretchen Long, founding board member of The Murie Center of Teton Science Schools, current board member of The National Park Advisory Board (among many others, former and current), and committed advocate for conserving America’s treasured parks and wilderness areas.
- Dr. George Schaller and Dr. Robert Krear, esteemed field biologists and global conservationists who traveled with the Muries on their 1956 Sheenjek Expedition that set in motion the effort to protect what is now the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
- Addie Donnan, community leader in Jackson Hole and founding chair of The Murie Center and Teton Science Schools emeritus board member.
Keynote speakers and guest presenters have included former President of The Wilderness Society Bill Meadows; The Honorable Margaret M. McKeown, a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; and renowned conservationist Jane Goodall, who contributed a video introduction to our first awards dinner in 2011.