A Tribute to the late Sir Edmund Hillary

The passing of this heroic figure was a personal loss to his many co-workers and friends such as Bruce Jefferies (and his wife Margaret). It was also a loss to the Nepalese children educated in the schools he established, and a loss to all those who know Sagarmatha NP whether from personal experience or from books. We have extracted from a tribute that Bruce wrote that illumines the role Sir Edmund played in establishing this great World Heritage Site.

One of the early suggestions for establishing this iconic place as a national park came from Louise Hillary. In 1973 the Government of Nepal announced their in-principle decision to establish the park. In 1974 an appraisal mission from New Zealand which included Bing Lucas  (our late beloved friend and Chair of WCPA), undertook an appraisal mission to evaluate the feasibility for establishing the national park. This was followed in 1975 by a commitment from the New Zealand Government, undoubtedly under Sir Ed's guidance, to provide finance and technical assistance to the Nepalese Government to help set up the park.

Here is the extract from Bruce Jefferie's Tribute to Hillary...

"I (Bruce) spent nearly 3 years living and working in the park and Sir Ed visited us on many occasions to discuss our work and share his perspectives. Conservation activities in Nepal were supported by educational opportunities in New Zealand where a small International Ranger Training facility at Turangi  provided a platform for Nepalese staff to increase their English language ability and g ain knowledge of a wide range of practical protected area management skills. The early Sherpas that participated in this scheme were handpicked by Sir Ed and the first year at Turangi was a precursor to their entrance at Lincoln University where, under Dr. Pat Devlin , many students including several who later became Chief Warden s in Sagarmatha NP as well as prominent international conservation professionals, completed undergraduate studies.

"Our late colleague Mingma Sherpa was one of the first children to graduate from a school that Sir Edmund established in the Khumbu region.
~ Bruce Jefferies

Linda McMillan aptly states that this is "a testament to the power of education to help conserve our planet."

Prepared by the IUCN WCPA Mountains Biome executive, with thanks also to Mountains Biome member Bruce Jefferies for his kind assistance.
Graeme Worboys Linda McMillan Fausto Sarmiento Larry Hamilton
Vice Chair
Mountains Biome
Deputy Vice Chair
Mountains Biome (Communications)
Deputy Vice Chair
Mountains Biome
(Capacity Building)
Senior Advisor Mountains Biome and IUCN WCPA