Mary Wiper was born June 21, 1976 in Sioux City, IA, to Ray and Sandra (Wockenfuss) Wiper. She was the youngest of three children, joining the world with her sister, Ann, and brother, Robert. The family moved to Bowbells, N.D. in 1979. Mary grew up in this small farming community, participating in many school and church activities. She was actively involved in band and chorus. She spent every summer at the International Music Camp, located at the International Peace Gardens in Dunseith, N.D. She also participated in cheerleading, yearbook, and competitive speech. Mary was a clear, concise, and well-rounded public speaker, even as a high school student. She qualified for the state speech meet all four years of high school. After graduating from Bowbells High School in 1994, Mary attended the University of North Dakota (UND), in Grand Forks. She majored in English, minoring in Women's Studies and Sociology, and was accepted into the Honors program. She remained actively involved in the university community, and her individual and academic development flourished at UND. She sang in the women's choir, volunteered at the Museum of Art, worked in the Honors program, volunteered at the child development center, participated in the environmental club, and assisted with the UND Writer's Conference. Mary was actively involved in establishing Earth Day at UND, as well as a long-term recycling system on campus. Her academic performance, focus, and determination in the classroom, and in the community were recognized, and she was nominated and inducted into Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. Mary graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Honors Program in May, 1999, following in the footsteps of her father, Ray, '63, sister, Ann, '95, and brother, Robert, '98. After graduating, Mary accepted a position with the Sierra Club in the Badlands National Park of South Dakota. At the end of the summer, she was promoted as a conservation organizer for the Sierra Club in the community of Billings, MT. She immediately started working on various environmental issues, with her main focus on a remote area of cultural, spiritual, and historic value: Weatherman Draw, also known as "Valley of the Chiefs". This sacred land contained the largest collection of American Indian rock art on the continent, dating back more than 1,000 years, and was identified as an area for oil development. Plains Indian tribes from Montana to Oklahoma held this site sacred. In an effort to preserve this area, Mary brought together activists, local and national tribal members, local and national legislators, geologists, attorneys, archeologists, oil industry representatives, and the Bureau of Land Management. She was interviewed by local, national, and international journalists. She traveled to Washington, D.C., in collaboration with tribal members, advocating to Congress for protection of the land. As a result of these collaborative efforts, the plans to drill in Weatherman Draw were dropped by the corporation holding the drilling lease, and the lease was donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. While Mary resided in Billings, she also volunteered to teach children to read. She made many friends in Billings, and loved Montana. After two and a half years in Billings, MT, Mary was promoted as an associate field representative for the Southwest and relocated to Albuquerque, NM. In New Mexico, Mary successfully campaigned to prevent coal mining in the Zuni Salt Lake, and was also fighting to stop gas drilling in Otero Mesa, an area in the southern part of the state, rich in wildlife. She was appointed to be the lead organizer in the Building Environmental Communities Program in Albuquerque and Sante Fe. Of particular importance to Mary was the exposure of women and unborn children to mercury, a bi-product of mismanaged energy development. On August 1, 2004, Mary was visiting friends from Billings, MT, in Colorado. The group went for a dayhike in an area south of Breckenridge, known as Little French Gulch. A sudden storm appeared as the group was hiking back to the trailhead. Lightning surged through the area, and fatally struck Mary. On August 3rd, the Breckenridge Music Festival dedicated their concert in memory of Mary Wiper. Memorial services were conducted in Albuquerque, NM, Billings, MT, and Bowbells, ND. At UND, former faculty and friends organized Mary Wiper Day in honor of Mary's legacy. A mural created in memory of Mary was inducted into the Energy and Environmental Research Center at UND. Her papers and photographs have been archived at the UND library, and an endowment has been established in her memory to fund a scholarship for other dedicated and talented students interested women's studies, English, and/or the environment. A bench is currently being designed in her honor at the Soaring Eagle Prairie, in the center of UND. Wherever Mary went, she easily made friends. Her spirit, unrelenting energy, and love of life were infectious, and her warmth and enthusiasm were famous. She was a quiet, polite, yet extremely effective warrior who fought for the good of others and the future of our children. Her integrity, intellect, and gentle demeanor often encouraged those that initially were not compelled to protect the environment, to care in whatever form possible and to make changes that fit their lives. Mary bridged the gap that often exists between people of differing experiences, and was someone who easily found common ground. But above all, Mary was an amazing friend, sister, and daughter. She was devoted and caring, and her relationships with others were solid and steadfast. She graced our lives with love, compassion, and an unrivaled ability to listen and empathize. She will always live in the hearts of those that she touched, because was beautiful.