Honoring Eleanor Sterling’s extraordinary mind and heart

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It is with great sadness that I share news that our dear friend and colleague Eleanor Sterling has died. She is one of several Center board members who served a life’s term on the Center’s board. Even before the Center’s founding 20 years ago, she helped to shape and guide this organization’s mission—and then remained devoted to it ever since. If you appreciate the ideas that are generated and fostered through our publications, events, and other programming, then you know and appreciate a part of Eleanor’s extraordinary mind and heart. If you are looking forward to land-based programming at the Center, you are looking ahead to just one sliver of her professional legacy that will stretch into the years to come.

My sense is that many of our community members either knew Eleanor or knew of her work, both at the Center for Humans and Nature and throughout the world. There are many places where you can read about her professional journey, including here and here. She had a truly remarkable life and career, marked equally by scientific exploration and a deep care for humans (and Aye-ayes!) and the rest of the vast array of life held by this beautiful Earth.
In addition to this legacy, I want to share a glimmer into the years-worth of mentoring, counsel, and friendship that I received from being in relationship with Eleanor. I especially treasured the one-on-one gifts of time with a wise woman able to plunge into the challenging passages of life with care, grace, and profound insight. Our mutual and beloved friend (and fellow Center founding/life board member) George Rabb advocated that we strive to live a life marked by an ethic of care. Eleanor embodied this and more.
It is hard for me to fathom that our journey with Eleanor ends here. Eleanor remains a beacon—a guide in how to be human in relationship with the whole community of life; a model of elderhood, sharing her wisdom with grace and humility; and an inspiration for us all on how to merge meaningful work with a life well lived.
You will be missed, dear Eleanor!

With love and gratitude for all that Eleanor’s life continues to shine into this world,

Brooke Hecht
Center for Humans and Nature

This issue of our newsletter is also available here.

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