Murie Ranch cabin in the woods

The Legacy of Leadership: Mardy Murie and the Spirit of Conservation

“I’m counting on the new generation coming up. I have to believe in their spirit, as those who came before me believed in mine.”

-Mardy Murie

A cornerstone of our work at Teton Science Schools is fostering leadership. We believe leadership, in all its forms – personal, professional, communal – is what helps create a world in which we want to live.

Mardy and Olaus Murie

One of the leaders we admire most is Mardy Murie. Together with her husband, Olaus, family, and community, Mardy helped shape the conservation movement, culminating with the passage of the Wilderness Act and the protection of numerous nationally designated wild areas. Since 2015, the Murie Ranch has been a campus of TSS and we are privileged to live out our mission to inspire curiosity, engagement, and leadership through transformative place-based education in this incredible wild place.  

One way that TSS continues to honor the Muries’ legacy is through the Murie Spirit of Conservation Award. This annual honor is bestowed upon an individual who has made marked contributions to conservation efforts and has proven to be a leader in the important work of environmental stewardship. This year, former Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario will be recognized as the recipient of the award. During her time with Patagonia, Marcario modeled social and corporate responsibility and advocated for climate and environmental policy while simultaneously growing profits and revenues. Marcario proved that business can serve as a powerful agent for conservation and other social movements when decisions are guided by intentional company values. A clear example of this was Rose’s leadership in changing Patagonia’s motto from “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis” to: “We’re in business to save our home planet.”

As M. Margaret McKeown, Chair of the TSS Board of Directors’ Murie Committee put it, “Rose Marcario is a powerful and timely choice for the award, as she represents the conservation values and commitment to public lands championed by Olaus and Mardy Murie that continue to inspire the mission of Teton Science Schools today.”

Another aspect of this yearly tradition is that the recipient selects an individual to receive the Murie Spirit of Conservation Rising Leader Award. Rose has chosen Robbie Bond as this year’s Rising Leader. As our youngest awardee to date, Robbie wants kids everywhere to know that their voices matter for the future of conservation. In 2017, at nine years old, Robbie founded the nonprofit Kids Speak for Parks to protect our nation’s natural wonders and educate other kids and their families about the importance of National Parks and monuments. In his work with this important group, he visits schools to help inspire more and more kids to raise their voices and be heard. His voice was recently amplified in a big way through Marvel’s Hero Project, a partnership with @disneyplus where you can meet real-life heroes making a difference in their communities and all over the world. The Roving Robbie episode was based on Robbie Bond!

When asked why he tours the country promoting conservation he said, “You can’t protect things you don’t understand and you won’t if you don’t care. We can’t get the parks back once they are damaged or destroyed, and I want to ensure the parks are available for future generations.” One of his next projects includes working to get more kids immersed in our national parks and monuments through “The Kids Speak For Parks Virtual Reality Tours” – partnering with Google Expeditions to create virtual reality films of the parks for the classroom, and by taking kids who have limited access to the outdoors on field trips.

Robbie will be traveling with his family in early September to Teton Science Schools to visit with Mountain Academy of Teton Science Schools PreK-12 students and other schools from around the region. Meet Robbie and follow their journey along with us at


Share this post: