Elizabeth Losey

  • Scientist, author, and historian Elizabeth Beard Losey (1912-2005) was hired in 1947 by Refuge Chief J. Clark Salyer as the first female field research biologist in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Her assignment was to chronicle the importance of beavers in waterfowl management at Seney National Wildlife Refuge, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP). In so doing, she demonstrated a sharp intellect and indefatigable resolve that earned her induction to the Wildlife Society, in 1948, as its first female professional member. Although she chose life in the UP over a career with FWS, Losey never abandoned her love for wildlife and her zeal for field studies. She developed and taught wildlife management courses at the University of Michigan, served on the Mississippi Flyway Technical Committee and chronicled the early North American fur trade. Elizabeth volunteered at Seney into her nineties, serving as a beloved role model for a new generation of biologists, who accorded her enduring status as a pioneer in gender equality in field-based scientific research and study.