Women In Conservation

By Morgan Shimabuku

March is Women’s History Month and we’d like to celebrate with a spotlight on some of the female greats in the world of conservation. Since the beginning of environmental conservation, women from all over the world have been involved in leading the movement. Below is a list of some of our idols, along with a short account of their lasting conservation accomplishments.

Rosalie Edge (1877-1962) is most commonly remembered for her establishment and leadership in the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, officially established in 1938, which still sits in Eastern Pennsylvania. Before conservation, Ms. Edge was an activist in the woman’s suffrage movement. Using her skills from this work, she successfully organized the protection of the birds that the sanctuary was set up to protect.  Rosalie’s efforts to protect and preserve a landscape for the sake of wildlife were somewhat ahead of her time, and very outside of the traditional role of an American woman in that generation.

Rachel Carson (1907-1964) was a biologist and author of the book, Silent Spring, and is one of the most well-known North American conservationists. Her historical account and documentation of the effects of pesticides, particularly DDT, on the natural environment and on human health helped to bring about the banning of these pesticides for agricultural applications.

Celia Hunter ( 1919-2001) was an essential figure in the protection of over 100 million acres of Alaska land and founder of the Alaska Conservation Society, now the Alaska Conservation Foundation. Her efforts enabled the citizens of Alaska and Alaskan conservation efforts to have a voice at the national level, which had been previously disregarded.

Mardy Maurie (1902-2003) made her name as the “Grandmother of the Conservation Movement” through efforts such as her advocacy for the Wilderness Act of 1964.  She and her husband were instrumental in their efforts to gain legal protection for what now is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Jane Goodall was born in 1934 in England (Age 81). Dr. Goodall is well known for her years of research and study of chimpanzees in Tanzania. Her legacy of conservation and sustainability continues through the Jane Goodall Institute. The Institute, where Dr. Goodall continues to work, provides worldwide advocacy for the conservation of lands and communities surrounding ape habitats.

L. Hunter Lovins ( born 1950, Age 65) has made a significant conservation impact here in the state of Colorado as well as internationally. Lovins is known for her lifetime promotion of and dedication to sustainable development through the initiation of several different environmental organizations and institutions including Natural Capital Solutions, a non-profit based in Longmont, Colorado. Currently, she is providing her expertise to grow the implementation of effective sustainability projects and programs, especially in business and political settings. She is a sustainability leader, called upon frequently by the U.S. Congress, World Summit on Sustainable Development, World Economic Forum, UN Development Program and several academic institutions.

These are just a few of the more well-known women in conservation who have left a positive mark on our planet through their commitment and passion for the natural world and sustainable practices. CRC is happy to celebrate them, and all the women in the world working to make our planet a better place!