The World Wildlife Fund on
Galen and Barbara Rowell

Galen was a member of the National Council of World Wildlife Fund, and a great friend to us and to conservation. One of the three photographers featured in WWF’s 1999 book, Living Planet: Preserving Edens of the Earth, Galen was a passionate advocate for wild places and wildlife. He became involved with WWF in the early 1980s, working with Bruce Bunting and Mingma Sherpa on conservation issues in the Himalayas. His National Geographic articles and photographs on WWF’s Annapurna Conservation Area Project (1987) and later on the Manas region in Bhutan were critical for the long-term protection of these unique areas.

In 1997 Mingma and I, with a few other WWF friends, spent 12 days trekking with Galen and Barbara to the remotest area of Nepal’s Kanchenjunga Mountain Range. The primary goal of the journey was to encourage designation of the tri-national Kanchenjunga protected area. One day, realizing that our planned route would not take us above the clouds, Galen grabbed his gear and ran up the mountain to capture the images he had envisioned. A 25-mile round trip at altitudes above 12,000 feet: As always, his dedication and energy were simply astonishing! National Geographic subsequently published a brief article on the area illustrated with Galen’s photographs. Shortly after that, the Government of Nepal declared Kanchenjunga as a conservation area, with WWF recognizing the act as a Gift to the Earth.

Barbara, like Galen, was remarkably accomplished. A skilled pilot, widely published photographer, and author, she shared Galen’s commitment to conservation and enthusiastic zest for life. Together with my associates at WWF, I mourn the loss of Galen and Barbara, incredible individuals who have done so much to save the world’s remote and wild places and to document their extraordinary beauty and diversity for us all. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to their families, Mountain Light associates, and friends and admirers around the world.

Kathryn S. Fuller,  Former President,
World Wildlife Fund, U.S.

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