Elizabeth C. Titus but never call her that! It is always Liz.
Maybe it is because Elizabeth takes too long to say, and does not fit
this fireball lady with sparkling eyes, laughter, joy in her voice, and
enough persistence to found a movement that brings young people and the
natural world together year after year.
Born April 3, 1933, Liz was raised on Long Island . . . and a
100-square-mile "camp" in the wilderness of central Canada every summer.
She recalls. "We would be dropped off the train at a whistle stop and
met by Indian guides. After three days of hiking, canoeing and portaging
we'd arrive at Dad's log cabin."
She grew up living by three basic precepts:
Land is a trust ...we are all one with the earth.
Take care of everything.
If you feel something meeds to be done, do it.
Her background and ideas jelled and grew at Vassar College, where she
began a course in Conservation of Natural Resources so she "could be
outdoors." She wanted more than Vassar could offer. With the help of
an enthusiastic department head, Vassar created an interdisciplinary
major for her . . . and then allowed her to let her do her thesis on her
idea for a student conservation corps. Liz met Stephen Mather's
daughter, enlisted her as a supporter, and was soon explaining her idea
to former National Park Service Director Horace Albright. Fresh out of
college, as idealistic then as she is now, she convinced Horace in a
flash. They picked Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Olympic, and Mt. Rainier as
the places to start.
The first Student Conservation Association programs began in 1957 in
Olympic and Grand Teton. They totaled 54 high school, college, and
graduate students. Three years later, the movement spread to Zion and
Cedar Breaks. Now, more than 30 years later, it is more vibrant than
ever. More than 1,600 participants a year work in the outdoors in more
than 250 areas. It has grown to include the Bureau of Land Management,
the Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service as well as state
agencies and the USSR. George Hartzog modified the idea to start the
Volunteers-in-Parks program. Senator Henry M. Jackson modified it to
start the Youth Conservation Corps and the Young Adult Conservation
Corps programs. Any of us who have managed a park know the value of what
this dynamo of spirit, love, and laughter has done for the people and
natural environment of her country.
Liz loves the National Park Service, and it loves her. She was made
an honorary park ranger in 1989 we hope she doesn't mind that it
was only 30 years late!