Rosalie Edge figure in PA conservation

Rosalie Edge

November 3, 1877 – November 30, 1962

Born to a prominent New York City family in November 1877, Rosalie Barrow might have settled into a life of privilege and wealth and never given another thought to the natural world or political activism. Instead, a chance encounter with a prominent suffragette in 1913 ignited a spark of political awareness that eventually grew to a firestorm. Her passion for women’s rights and social justice grew to include creatures on the wing, and she became a knowledgeable and dedicated birder. In the 1930s, when she discovered a unholy alliance between commercial wildlife harvesters and the directors of the National Association of Audubon Societies, her anger and determination swept the offending directors from office and led to reform of the organization’s efforts into true conservation.

It was during this time that she began her efforts to purchase and protect the hawk migration routes of eastern Pennsylvania, raising the money herself to purchase what is now Hawk Mountain Sanctuary when the Audubon Association refused to take up the cause. Millions of birds and thousands of visitors are the direct beneficiaries of her stubborn refusal to remain silent.