JH NEWS AND GUIDE – Harrison Ford, longtime part-time Jackson Hole resident, supporter of causes and friend of Chewbaca, has been named the latest recipient of a prestigious conservation award.
The actor will receive the Murie Spirit of Conservation Award, given periodically by the Murie Center, the center announced last week.
The Murie Center, which became a program of Teton Science Schools last October, said Ford has narrated many environmental documentaries, including the film “Arctic Dance,” which told the life story of Mardy Murie and her husband, Olaus. The pioneering conservationists lived much of their lives in Jackson and at an inholding in Grand Teton National Park that is now the Murie Center headquarters.
“Arctic Dance” was produced by Jackson Hole filmmakers Bonnie Kreps and Charlie Craighead, with Ford narrating.
Ford “has been key to both amplifying the legacy of the Muries as well as bringing mainstream attention to important global conservation issues for more than 25 years,” Science Schools vice president of advancement Patrick Daley said in release.
Ford also serves as vice chairman of Conservation International.
Mardy Murie is often called the “grandmother of American conservation” and her husband did important work studying elk and coyotes. The two campaigned for the creation of the Arctic National Wildlilfe Refuge in the 1950s, and after Olaus’ death in 1963 Mardy continued an effort that led to a doubling of the refuge’s acreage and protection of more than 104 million acres of other Alaskan wild lands.
Mardy Murie received the presidential Medal of Freedom from President Clinton. She died in 2003 at age 101.
The Murie family also included two other important wildlife biologists, Adolph and Louise, who besides being husband and wife were Olaus’s half-brother and Mardy’s half-sister.
Previous recipients of the Murie Award have been Addie Donnan, one of the founders of the Murie Center; Drs. George Schaller and Robert Krear, field biologists and conservationists who traveled with the Muries on the 1956 Sheenjek Expedition that led to creation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; Gretchen Long, a founder of the Murie Center and now a board member of the National Park Advisory Board; Luther Propst, founder of the Sonoran Institute, a leader in sustainable water, land use and community development work; and Jackson Hole native John Turner, a former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and assistant secretary of state of oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs.
Since becoming part of Teton Science Schools the Murie Center has continued “to bring people together to inspire actions that preserve nature,” Daley said.
Teton Science Schools began in 1967 to offer outdoor education. Besides the Murie Center in Moose, the school has a 900-acre Jackson campus for its pre-K through 12th grade Journeys School and maintains a graduate program near Kelly in Grand Teton National Park.