Mardy Murie, “Grandmother of the Conservation Movement,” was a committed lifelong conservationist and protector of wildlife and wild lands.
Wife of former Wilderness Society President Olaus Murie, Mardy Murie was a wilderness warrior in her own right, serving on The Wilderness Society governing council and advocating for wilderness in Alaska and beyond throughout her life.
Margaret (Mardy) Murie was born in Seattle in 1902 and moved to Fairbanks, Alaska while she was still young.
She was the first woman to graduate from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks in 1924. That same year she married Olaus Murie. Their honeymoon was a caribou research expedition by dogsled in Alaska's Brooks Range within the Arctic Wildlife Range.
Soon it became second nature for Mardy to pack her babies along with her camping gear for trips accompanying Olaus in the Alaska wilds. Mardy described the family's Alaska adventures in her book “Two in the Far North.”
The Muries moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1926, where they built a log cabin that they lived in for the rest of their lives. Olaus and Mardy wrote letters and articles, traveled to lectures and fought for legislation that would protect the last of the wild places.
In 1960, Mardy and Olaus found out that the Arctic Wildlife Range was going to be designated as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an accomplishment that the couple had dedicated their lives to.
Mardy attended the signing of the Wilderness Act by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964 after Olaus’ death. She continued the work that she and Olaus had begun together, joining the governing council of The Wilderness Society and working for the protection of wild Alaska until the end of her life.
Margaret Murie was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President William Clinton in January 1998 for her lifelong commitment to conservation.