Ruth Jury Scott PA conservation figure

Ruth Jury Scott

1909 - June 18, 2003

Ruth J. Scott, an Iowa native, attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie Mellon University, for a fine arts education. Afterwards, she enrolled in the natural sciences program at the University of Pittsburgh, furthering her interest in environmental advocacy. Scott worked as the resident environmental educator at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Powdermill Nature Preserve, supervising the construction and repairs of two major facilities: a bio-science center and a nature center. She is sometimes called a “catalytic agent”, meaning that she starts programs only to the point where someone else can take over and she can move on. She has used this method to work with many different environmental agencies in Pennsylvania.

Scott began the Roadside Vegetation Management Project that worked to educated people about the dangers of pesticides and the positive uses of ecological vegetation management. In 1961, she was a leader in the Federation of State Garden Clubs and also a member of the National Bird Committee. She was deeply involved in the effort of the Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy. In 1976, she was named Conservationist of the Year by Allegheny County Conservation District. Also that year, she was chosen as an honorary research associate for the Carnegie Museum’s Environmental Studies section.

Scott’s most distinguished award is the W.E. Clyde Todd Award given to conservationists from the National Audubon Society. Rachel Carson, a friend and active environmentalist, stated her pleasure when Scott received the award. Carson declared, “I can think of no individual more deserving of a conservation award. Here is no mere lip service to a cause – she lives it!” After Rachel Carson’s death, Ruth founded the Rachel Carson Homestead Association, to remind others of Carson’s work in ecology, and the Rachel Carson Council Inc. which works to encourage and support research, educational projects, and policies that incorporate Carson’s call for reducing dependency on pesticides.