American environmentalist and CEO of Tompkins Conservation, Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, was designated UN Environment Patron of Protected Areas on Friday at the United Nations headquarters in New York at an event is hosted by the Permanent Missions of Argentina and Chile to the United Nations.

The former CEO of Patagonia, Inc., Tompkins is renowned for her outstanding environmental leadership, and particularly for expanding public protected areas and engaging the business community with the conservation of pristine mountains, grasslands, forests, and wetlands in Chile and Argentina.

Famed for purchasing vast swaths of landscapes in Patagonia and returning them to national Governments in the form of national parks, Ms. Tompkins together with her late husband Douglas Tompkins — founder of The North Face and co-founder of Esprit — and their partners have worked with the governments of Chile and Argentina to create 13 parks spanning 5 million hectares to date, more than any private individuals in history.

The couple is also recognized for recovering species such as the giant anteater in Argentina, in the areas where they work and boosting jobs and incomes through their conservation effort in territories full of clean water and ancient forests.

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