Tom Campion receives 2024 National Conservation Award from the Garden Club of America

Tom Campion, Trustee
Tom Campion, Trustee

At their 111th annual meeting in Hartford, CT, the Garden Club of America honored Tom Campion with the Frances K. Hutchinson Medal for his environmental activism and internationally lauded work to protect irreplaceable wilderness areas. This is the club’s highest honor and is awarded annually to figures of national importance for distinguished service to conservation.

In accepting the award, Tom stated, “Every American has a say in how our public lands are cared for. The Garden Club of America recognizes—as I do—that seeing nature merely as a resource to be extracted for short-term profits does a great disservice to the incredible beauty and wonder of these wild lands, and our role as stewards for future generations.”

Past recipients of this conservation award include Edward O. Wilson, Douglas Brinkley, Thomas E. Lovejoy, The Honorable Cecil D. Andrus, Roger Tory Peterson, The Honorable Stewart L. Udall, and Rachel Carson.

From the Garden Club of America’s announcement:

Tom Campion is a successful businessman who has devoted his resources and passion to protect our environment and safeguard important wilderness areas like the more than 19 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for future generations. President Barack Obama called him a powerful, principled leader whose work would help leave our children and grandchildren with “a safer, cleaner, and more sustainable planet.”

Campion is the chairman of Zumiez, the world’s largest action sports retailer which he co-founded in 1978. In 2005 he and his wife Sonya founded the Campion Foundation to protect the wilderness, address homelessness, and strengthen the nonprofit sector. Realizing philanthropy was not enough, in 2014 Tom and Sonya founded the Campion Advocacy Fund that has harnessed an effective network of supporting organizations and invested in efforts to preserve landscapes in Alaska and the American West. The fund has also supported the publication of books, films, and museum exhibits informing people about crucial conservation and environmental issues. These efforts include the stunning award-winning film The Arctic: Our Last Great Wilderness. Screened in IMAX theaters, the film was supported by a national communications campaign to raise awareness that keeping carbon in the ground rather than drilling was essential to addressing the climate crisis.

Tom has been recognized for his conservation and environmental efforts including receiving the 2016 Environmental Leadership Award from the League of Conservation Voters. A founding board member of Conservation Northwest, he is chairman emeritus of the Alaska Wilderness League and is active in The Wilderness Society.

Tom Campion is a true environmental champion who according to Washington Governor Jay Inslee has done more than anyone on the globe to save the Arctic.

Congratulations, Tom! Learn more about the Garden Club of America and this year’s award recipients here.