“Wilderness is an anchor. Knowing it is there, we can also know that we are still a rich nation, tending our resources as we should — not a people in despair searching every last nook and cranny of our land for a board of lumber, a barrel of oil, a blade of grass, or a tank of water.”
Margaret Murie loved two things best in the world: her husband and nature. For more than 70 years, she worked tirelessly to protect the wild spaces of the western United States. She’s considered the “grandmother of the conservation movement” and she won numerous awards during her lifetime.
- Margaret (Mardy) Murie was born in 1902 in Seattle, Washington. Her family moved to Alaska when she was five-years-old. Margaret grew up exploring the natural world.
- She was the first woman to graduate from the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines. In 1924, she married Olaus Murie. In 1927, the couple moved to Jackson, Wyoming.
- Olaus, a biologist and ecologist, was interested in studying the wildlife in the Teton region. In particular, he was concerned about the declining numbers of elk living there. The couple spent weeks camping and backpacking in the wilds of Wyoming, taking their three young children with them.
- A few years later, the couple bought a dude ranch in Wyoming. Mardy said she wanted to be able to walk out her backdoor and into the forest. Scientists and conservationists often visited the ranch to discuss and solve problems relating to wildlife conservation.
- In 1956, the couple began a campaign to convince President Eisenhower to set aside 8,000,000 acres of land in Alaska for wildlife (Arctic National Wildlife Range).
- After Olaus died in 1963, Margaret became even more active in the conservation movement. She visited New Zealand, Tanzania, and Alaska to learn about wildlife in those places. She wrote numerous articles, gave speeches, and attended hearings.
- Margaret Murie received the Audubon Medal, the John Muir Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- She died in 2003 at the age of 101.
Watch a video about Margaret Murie.