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Elizabeth Brown Losey (née Beard) was an American conservationist who is recognised as being the first female refuge biologist.

Elizabeth Losey
Betty Losey (Seney National Wildlife Refuge).jpg
Betty Losey doing field work at Seney National Wildlife Refuge.
Elizabeth Brown Beard

1912 (1912)
Died2005 (aged 92–93)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
Refuge biology


Losey was born in East Orange, New Jersey in 1912.[1] She went to high school in Lynn, Massachusetts.[1] She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in wildlife management and conservation in 1946.[2] Initially, Losey could not find work because she was a woman.[2] She worked as a research assistant for the University of Michigan until 1952.[1] She created a series of teaching aids in wildlife management, including the Outline of upland game bird management (1947).[3]


In 1947 she was employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Commission as a biologist at Seney National Wildlife Refuge.[4] Her assignment was to understand the importance of beavers in waterfowl management.[5] Losey was the first woman research biologist in the country.[1] She quit when she was told she was being transferred West, as by that time "romance had crept in".[6] She was only employed by the agency for three years, but built up a successful career as an ornithologist.[7] Rachel Carson recognised Losey's preparations for a manuscript on trumpeter swans as "an excellent job of organizing the material for an effective story".[7] In 1964 she published her observation of duck broods at the Seney National Wildlife Refuge.[8]

Losey travelled America and Canada taking photographs of fur trading posts and collecting Native American art, which was later donated to the DeVos Art Museum in Michigan.[9][6] Losey wrote two books. Let Them Be Remembered: The Story of the Fur Trade Forts, the story of the Hudson's Bay Company and the 1600 fur trade, was published in 1999.[10] Her second, Seney National Wildlife Refuge: its story, was published in 2003.[11] She remained a volunteer at Seney National Wildlife Refuge until her death in 2005.[2] She wrote her final peer-reviewed paper at the age of 92 on the History of the Sharp-tailed Grouse, which was published after her death.[12] She was a lifetime sponsor of Delta Waterfowl Foundation.[13] She is regarded as a pioneer in gender equality within fieldwork.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d "The First Female Field Biologist" (PDF). Conservation Gateway. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c System, National Wildlife Refuge. "A Look Back: Elizabeth "Betty" Losey | National Wildlife Refuge System". Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  3. ^ University of Michigan.; Beard, Elizabeth Sherwood Browne. (1951). Outline of upland game bird management. Ann Arbor: Overbeck Co.
  4. ^ "Elizabeth Browne Beard Losey papers". Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Webmaster, NCTC. "USFWS/NCTC - History and Heritage". Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Collection Spotlight: The Elizabeth Brown Beard Losey Papers". The Northern Tradition. May 22, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "klinger.htm". Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  8. ^ Beard, Elizabeth B. (1964). "Duck Brood Behavior at the Seney National Wildlife Refuge". The Journal of Wildlife Management. 28 (3): 492–521. doi:10.2307/3798202. JSTOR 3798202.
  9. ^ "Losey Collection of Native American Art and Artifact". Flickr. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  10. ^ Browne., Losey, Elizabeth (1999). Let them be remembered : the story of the fur trade forts (1st ed.). New York: Vantage Press. ISBN 0533125723. OCLC 44722618.
  11. ^ Browne., Losey, Elizabeth (2003). Seney National Wildlife Refuge : its story (1st ed.). [United States?]: E.B. Losey. ISBN 0972783407. OCLC 54206811.
  12. ^ Losey, Elizabeth. "History of Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus) at Seney National Wildlife Refuge and Surrounding Areas, Schoolcraft County, Michigan" (PDF). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Home Page. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  13. ^ "2016 Annual Report" (PDF). Delta Waterfowl. Retrieved March 12, 2018.