In Memory of Helen

Like many (if not most) men, I was not overly close to my mother-in-law.  Nevertheless, she had a profound impact on my life, well beyond our family relationship.

When I first met Helen, in 1973, I was impressed by her devotion to and support for the work of conservation organizations; an avid birder and gardener, she was actively involved in regional programs and, sensing my own interest, began to send along gift subscriptions to the publications of national conservation organizations.  In 1974, she arranged for our visit to Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, on Sanibel Island, Florida, (my first exposure to the rich diversity of exotic, subtropical birdlife) and, in the same year, introduced me to the writings of Edwin Way Teale (beginning with his classic North with the Spring).  Later in life, I came to appreciate the prominent role that all of these events played in my development as a naturalist.

Helen died this week at the age of 96.  I thank her for her mentorship and inspiration and will honor her memory through my own devotion to the conservation ethic that she fostered in myself and others.