anna brones

writer + artist + producer

Posts Tagged ‘nature

Margaret “Mardy” Murie

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“Wilderness itself is the basis of all our civilization.

I wonder if we have enough reverence for life to concede to wilderness the right to live on?”

-Margaret Murie (1902-2003)

Wilderness advocates often refer to Margaret “Mardy” Murie as the “Grandmother of the Conservation movement.” Born just after the turn of the twentieth century in Seattle, Washington, Murie’s love of the land led to many great conservation achievements.

Moving to Alaska at the age of five, in 1924 she became the first woman to graduate from the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines (now the University of Alaska, Fairbanks). The same year, at a morning sunrise ceremony on the banks of the Yukon River, she married her husband Olaus Murie. A scientist for the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey, both of them loved the land, and the two adventured off on an 550-mile, 8-month expedition cum honeymoon to study caribou.

They were an adventuresome duo, and Murie joined her husband on many expeditions, helping to keep meticulous records of specimens and findings. Eventually his work took them to Jackson, Wyoming, where Olaus was assigned to study elk populations in the Tetons. While they raised three children, Murie continuing to assist on research trips, and the two began advocating for the environment. Their home, the STS ranch near Moose, Wyoming, now a part of Grand Teton National Park, became a gathering place for fellow conservation leaders.

In 1945, Olaus was appointed part-time director of the Wilderness Society, and went on the become the president in 1950. Murie served as a council member for the organization, and with her husband collaborated on letters, giving talks and advocating for wilderness legislation. An expedition in 1956 took them back to Alaska, this time to the Sheenjek River Valley in northeast Alaska, gathering information of local wildlife in order to make an argument for federal protection. Their work later led to the establishment of the Arctic National Wildlife Range in 1960.

Murie published a memoir Two in the Far North in 1962, documenting her childhood and she and her husbands expeditions and adventures in Wyoming and Alaska, a story of exploration and fighting for the protection of the places they loved. Olaus died the next year, just a few months before the signing of the Wilderness Act, a piece of legislation the two had fought tirelessly for and led to the protection of 110 million acres of federal land.

Her life had been spent devoted to helping her husband, and while friends encouraged her to find a new path, Murie understood that her calling was to the land. She used her power as a writer to continue to advocate for the environment, writing speeches and letters to politicians and leaders. She was invited to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of the Wilderness Act, and in her time when she wasn’t using her voice in the support of wilderness, she traveled to experience more, her adventures taking her to conservation sites in Africa and on a 10,000-mile campervan trip in Alaska.

Alaska continued to hold particular significance for Murie, and her work helped to pass the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980, which protected 56.4 million acres as wilderness in addition to tens of millions acres more as national parks and wildlife refuges. Her efforts did not go unrecognized, and she not only received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, but was also given the Audubon Medal, the Sierra Club’s John Muir Award and the Wilderness Society’s Bob Marshall Award as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton in recognition of her contributions to wilderness conservation.

Murie passed away at the age of 101 at her home in Moose, Wyoming, her undying love for wilderness and the environment having left a lasting legacy.

Margaret Murie is one of three women from the Women’s Wisdom Project series to be featured in a new article in the TEND issue of Taproot magazine. The other two are Winona LaDuke and Jane Addams. I am honored to have contributed to this issue, and encourage you to check out this great publication that’s independent and ad-free. You can order a copy of the TEND issue here.

This papercut and profile are a part of the Women’s Wisdom Project, a project focused on showcasing the wisdom of inspiring, insightful women by making 100 papercut portraits.

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Written by Anna Brones

April 5, 2019 at 09:56

Nature’s Pace

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“Bark looks like islands. Nature’s map.”

I had written those few words next to a line drawing of bark in my sketchbook. I had stood close to a fir tree, so close I could inhale its smell, closely inspecting and drawing with my black pen the lines that I saw. Now that I look at the drawing it doesn’t really resemble bark anymore. But it certainly looks like islands.

How often do we take the time to see? The time to listen? The time to be?

I thought about this a lot last month during a three-week creative residency at Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island. A creative residency is one of those wonderful things that allows you the time and space to let your creative mind wander, and I am so grateful for getting that time. I spent those three weeks with as much physical as mental wandering. After all, the two do go hand in hand.

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Written by Anna Brones

September 7, 2018 at 08:36

What if Nature Was a Prescription Drug?

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Is nature the answer to all your problems? It might be.

I love this humorous video by Dream Tree Film & Productions. It’s part of a series, all intended to get us thinking about the positive benefits of the outdoors. What if we all got more regular doses of nature? Imagine how well off we would be…

Learn more at NatureRX.

Written by Anna Brones

August 14, 2015 at 15:45

Posted in Outdoor + Environment

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Friday Photo: The Good Life

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photo-11

Sometimes cold mountain air does more for a creative work brainstorm than a desk could ever do. Well, all of the time actually.

Written by Anna Brones

January 4, 2013 at 16:28

Dirtbag Gourmet: Cooking for Your Date in the Great Outdoors

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It’s good when editors let you pitch the kind of articles that make you laugh. Which is why I am excited about my most recent post on the very respectable outdoor online magazine Adventure Journal, where I took a stab at the topic of food and love in the backcountry. It started as a conversation between friends on how to impress a date on a hike (“make your own trail mix!”) and resulted in this article:

If you can’t cook a decent meal in the backcountry, you’re destined for romantic failure. A way to anyone’s heart is often through his or her stomach, especially if you’re on the tail end of a grueling day outside. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Yeah, that will refuel the person you’re crushing on, but a homemade olive hummus wrap with sea salt? That might be the extra touch you need to turn adventure partner into your partner.

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Friday Photo: A Classic Fourteener

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You can gauge the quality of your week by your views. This one was pretty unbeatable.

First official fourteener now in the books: Quandaray Peak, Colorado, 14,265 feet. Complete with summit headstands and mountain goats of course.

Written by Anna Brones

July 6, 2012 at 11:53

Friday Photo: Taking Time for Stillness

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Inspired by this quote for the weekend:

“In order to get from what was to what will be, you must go through what is.” – Anonymous

Which means taking time for stillness and simple pleasures.

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Written by Anna Brones

June 22, 2012 at 13:49