In 2019, Tompkins Conservation donated one million acres to Chile to help establish 10 million acres of new national parks in the country. The partnership represented the largest private land donation in history and protects some of the most biodiverse habitats in the world.
While impressive, land donation is only the beginning. Tompkins is now breeding and reintroducing native wild and imperiled species like the huemuls deer, guanaco, Andean condor, puma, and rhea; training park rangers, overseeing research; and establishing wildlife corridors in partnership with the Chilean government.
Rachel’s Network traveled to Chile earlier this year to meet Tompkins Conservation staff, including president and co-founder Kristine Tompkins, and visit two of the new parks – Pumalín and Patagonia. While there, members hiked through rainforests and along lagoons and volcanos, visited a rhea breeding facility, and learned from park administrators and Chilean conservationists.
The trip left an impression on members who subsequently provided a grant to Tompkins to support their continued conservation work in the parks.
“It was inspiring to see and experience that gorgeous string of National Parks that Tompkins helped create, and the re-wilding they are doing with native birds and animals,” said Rachel’s Network Vice Chair Molly Ross, who attended the trip. “Their passion and understanding that the beauty of wilderness is an essential ingredient to the soul of humanity mirrors my own thoughts and feelings. It is such an amazing gift to Chile and a model for the world and I am honored to contribute to their work.”
“One of the high points of 2019 for me personally and certainly for Tompkins Conservation, is the visit of so many of Rachel’s Network members to Pumalin National Park and Patagonia National Park this past austral summer,” said Kristine Tompkins.
“Their visit and generous contribution to our conservation work in Chile, together with my decision to join Rachel’s Network as one of its members, has enriched my life as a conservationist and I truly appreciate it. This grant will allow us to expand our rewilding efforts towards the northern and eastern sectors of Patagonia National Park and reestablish natural corridors for threatened species along the Route of Parks of Patagonia.”
Rachel’s Network, a nonprofit organization named in Rachel Carson’s honor, promotes women as impassioned leaders and agents of change dedicated to the stewardship of the earth. The Network builds productive alliances among members and offers services that empower them to lead.
Tompkins Conservation is a nonprofit organization led by Kristine Tompkins and dedicated to creating parklands, conserving biodiversity, restoring degraded lands, reintroducing missing species, encouraging environmental activism and fostering ecological agriculture in Chile and Argentina.
Photo: Tompkins Conservation