Every so often it's good to look into the past to revisit the people who got us where we are today. Looking Back is a series on the people who helped shape the National Wildlife Refuge System. The series is based on "A Look Back," a regular column written by Karen Leggett, from the Refuge System Branch of Communications, which appears in each issue of the Refuge Update newsletter.
The first woman to head the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mollie Beattie, was appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. Then-Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt wrote that Beattie was determined to make the Service “the strongest protector of America’s wild creatures and the finest steward over America’s National Wildlife Refuges.”
Three years later, Babbitt mourned Beattie’s death of brain cancer when she was only 49 years old.
He wrote that Beattie “fought fiercely against the forces that sought to weaken the mission of our wildlife refuges, to gut the Endangered Species Act, or to turn the lights off on good science through funding cuts.”