She was picking up litter on Camino Alto near the Redwoods where she lived when she said, “I want to leave the earth as I found it.”
Elizabeth Cooper Terwilliger (1909-2006), a descendant of Kit Carson, Daniel Boone and James Fenimore Cooper, was a modern-day trailblazer in the world of conservation and nature education.
She realized that her children should learn about the out of doors, and decided that all children in Marin needed nature education. She developed a unique method using multi-sensory techniques to teach children and adults about their natural environment.
As a conservationist, she campaigned for bicycle paths, preserves for Monarch butterflies, and open space. She led field trips six days a week, enchanting children and adults with her love of nature.
Her philosophy was to instill in children at a young age, a respect for their natural environment, making them environmentally responsible adults.
In 1968 she held a pep rally to garner support for a bicycle path from Sausalito to Tamalpais High School, a 3- or 4-foot wide path along the side of the railroad tracks. She received many awards.
Most famous was the President’s Volunteer Action Award. During the televised award ceremony, she got President Reagan to flap his folded arms simulating a vulture.
(This snippet of Marin history is compiled by the Mill Valley Historical Society.)