Teton Science Schools will host the 12th Annual Murie Spirit of Conservation Awards in Jackson on Monday, Sept. 19. The event brings Jane Goodall, who is receiving this year’s Spirit of Conservation Award for her decades-long studies of Tanzanian chimpanzees and her dedication to protecting wildlife.
Teton Science Schools alum Juan Martinez Pineda is also receiving an award as a rising leader. He said the award is a win for the many communities he identifies as part of.
“This award is for me, but it also is a recognition of the Indigenous, the Latin, the immigrant, the city kids who want the opportunity to belong in the same stage around conservation as Dr. Jane Goodall,” Martinez Pineda said. “We have a voice, and that voice matters, and I think that’s what this award represents.”
Martinez Pineda grew up in South Central Los Angeles and attended Teton Science Schools’ high school field ecology program in the summer of 1999. He said the program set him on a career path focused on the healing power of the outdoors for youth. He went on to co-found Fresh Tracks, an organization that brings Indigenous, rural and urban youth into the outdoors and helps give them resources to heal from past traumas and take action in their communities.
Martinez Pineda also said he connects with Goodall about the power of youth.
“I think, above all, her message about hope and youth and how the youth really carry the message of hope for us as a society, as a world, is one that we share deeply, that I understand profoundly, because it’s what happened to me,” he said. “It’s what I work to make sure that there are other opportunities where people can find the hope, the sense of belonging and the sense of action that they can take to make a difference in their world.”
Goodall will give a talk on hope when accepting her award at the Sept. 19 event at the Center for the Arts. The event is sold out, but it will be livestreamed at 7 p.m. A replay will not be available after the event.