Inducted in 2018
Rosalie Edge was a conservation advocate who contributed significantly to America by preserving its river species. Born in New York City in 1877, she was the youngest of five surviving children, attending elementary school but not college.
Edge began her public life as an advocate for the equal rights for women. She profoundly helped in the enactment of the 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution in 1920 which gave women the right to vote. Then she turned her attention toward wildlife and conservation with a particular interest in birds.
During the Great Depression, Edge was considered the country’s most militant conservationist, encouraging the conservation community to take stronger measures to protect bird species. She founded the Emergency Conservation Committee which published and distributed numerous pamphlets through the years urging wildlife protection organizations to increase their effectiveness. She became the first American woman to achieve national acclaim as a conservationist.
In 1934, Edge founded the world’s first preserve for birds of prey, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, raising money to purchase land in the mountains near Kempton in Pennsylvania. Over the next three decades, she became one of the most prominent figures in American conservation, expertly advocating for stronger measures to safeguard bird species and protect wildlife and nature. In her lifetime, she compiled a list of more than 800 species of birds. She played key roles in the establishment of Olympic National Park and Kings Canyon National Parks, and also helped in the expansion of Yosemite National Park.
Edge was one of the most devoted environmentalists of the 20th century and her work helped conserve the birds of prey who are among the lost loved and appreciated species along America’s rivers.