Conservation giants Kris and Doug Tompkins visit Wolwedans

Conservation Giants Kris and Doug Tompkins visit Wolwedans and the NamibRand Nature Reserve

Prominent South American conservation figures Kris and Doug Tompkins have honoured us with their presence at NamibRand Nature Reserve. Following a personal invitation from Albi Brückner, founder and chairman of the NamibRand Nature Reserve, they finally managed to make this trip a reality in July 2012. Four days on NamibRand Nature Reserve (one night at the Wolwedans Dunes Lodge and two nights at Boulders Camp) provided Stephan Brückner (MD of Wolwedans) ample opportunity to properly show the couple around the reserve and introduce them to NamibRand's magnificent ecology.  

The informal visit provided a brilliant opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience on conserving the last wild places on this planet. Kris and Doug's introduction to our model of holistic biodiversity conservation balanced with financial sustainability through high-end, low-impact tourism sparked many conversations about the role of conservation at large as well as giving valuable insight on the meaningful conservation work the couple has pioneered in various South American countries.

Kris Tompkins is the former CEO of Patagonia, Inc. and founder of Conservacion Patagonica, an NGO focused on creating national parks that protect and restore Patagonia’s wildlands, biodiversity, and communities. Since 1993, she has worked with her husband, Douglas Tompkins, to create new national parks in Chile and Argentina.

Doug Tompkins founded and has been president of the Conservation Land Trust since 1992 and of the Foundation for Deep Ecology since 1990. He also founded the California Mountain Guide Service (1963), The North face (1964), a documentary films company (1967) and co-founded the sportswear company Esprit (1970).

Together, they have protected more land than any other private individuals—over 2.2 million acres.

The motivation for their meaningful work in conservation can perhaps be best described by quoting an extract from their book Work in Progress - a Ten Year Retrospective 1990-2010: 'The current global extinction crisis, and the calamity of human-caused climate change that is bound to accelerate it, raises a fundamental existential question for thoughtful people: what kind of work should a person do in these momentous times? Our definition of meaningful work is to use one's labour to promote health and integrity, and counter negative ecological trends such as soil degradation, species loss, and climate change. Ironically, perhaps the only positive consequence of humanity's history of mistreating the Earth is that there are opportunities everywhere to do truly meaningful work helping nature heal. Ecological restoration, in the many forms it can take, is the ultimate growth industry for a degraded world.'

For their conservation work, the Tompkins have received accolades such as the Scenic Hudson’s Visionary Conservationist Award, the African Rainforest Conservancy’s New Species Award, and Latin Trade’s “Environmental Leader of the Year” award, and the American Alpine Club’s David Brower Award.

For more information on their meaningful conservation work please visit: