Mardy Murie was born Margaret Elizabeth Thomas on August 18, 1902, in Seattle, Washington. In 1924, two months after becoming the first woman graduate of the University of Alaska, Mardy married Olaus J. Murie, the pioneering field biologist who was doing scientific research in Alaska for the U.S. Biological Survey. Their honeymoon was a field trip, a 550-mile dogsled trek into the arctic winter of the Brooks Range.
Mardy’s ‘place of enchantment’ was the Sheenjek Valley of the Brooks Range. The Murie Sheenjek expedition of 1956 hailed the spectacular beauty and value of this unknown wilderness, which the Muries helped preserve as part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
She continued her conservation work well into her 90’s and has become known affectionately to three generations of conservationists as ‘The Mother of the American Conservation Movement.’