Santa Barbara, Ca. (June 2, 2021) – Kris Tompkins, former CEO of Patagonia, recently visited Marymount of Santa Barbara Math and Science teacher Melissa Wilson’s class to view student presentations for where they would build a new national park. This was part of Wilson’s extension class called “Stay Wild,” which was inspired by her award-winning documentary film of the same name. The film features footage from her time researching on the U.S. Virgin Islands and explains how expanding and connecting national parks can help sequester carbon and combat climate change. 

“The world is in need of futuristic thinkers, and I see my role as a propeller of student potential,” Wilson said. 

Credit: Courtesy

In the extension, sixth graders created conservation plans for where they would build a new national park and learned how to create maps using ArcGIS, a global information system. Sixth grade student, Luke Rice connected what he was learning about biodiversity and climate change to the work of friend and neighbor, Kris Tompkins (former CEO of Patagonia) and invited her to speak to their class. Tompkins and Dennis Liu (Vice President of Education, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation) joined the class via Zoom for presentations and conversation about protecting the Earth. 

Kris and Doug Tompkins (former CEO of North Face and Esprit) created the largest and longest national park in the world through their foundation, so these presentations were right in line with their mission. 

“I like that today you were thinking about national parks, you were thinking about connectivity, you were thinking about the threats that surround these areas,” Kris told the students via Zoom. “And that over the 8 projects you represent so many different types of landscapes.”

The students’ work also connects to a recent call globally by scientists that we need to conserve 30% of all land masses by 2030 to help prevent the sixth mass extinction. 

“Part of our school’s mission is academic excellence in action and inspiring students for a purpose beyond themselves,” Wilson said. “I saw this project as a way to show them the beauty in the world, and how they can have inspiring solutions both today and tomorrow.”

At Marymount, we provide student-centered, individualized learning in a joyful and nurturing community, inspiring academic excellence and valuing difference. The educational vision for each Marymount graduate is to empower individual potential, inspire purpose beyond self, and cultivate social responsibility as they prepare for high school and beyond. 

For more information, email or call 805-569-1811 ext. 131.


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