Elizabeth “Babs” Conant

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Elizabeth “Babs” Conant (1929-2020) was a scientist, educator, and lifelong activist.[1]


Conant was born Elizabeth Babbott on July 7, 1929 in Brooklyn, New York.[2]

An expert on lungfish, conservation was just one of many causes Conant championed. As a biologist, she was instrumental in the creation of the Ivy Creek Natural Area.[3] She also fought against the war in Vietnam, torture, and breast cancer, as well as for civil and LGBTQ rights.[1][2]

She died on August 23, 2020 at her home in Buffalo, New York.[2]

Ivy Creek Natural Area

Conant was canoeing one day on the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir in 1975 when she saw red surveyor tape on trees on the banks. She contacted The Nature Conservancy about purchasing the land, which they did, naming it the Rann Preserve.[4][3] Conant spearheaded the campaign to create the Ivy Creek Natural Area and influenced every part of its realization, from the desk work of financial campaigning to the direct action of ripping out old fences on the property. Conant managed to balance the preservation of the natural area and the legacy of the African American Carr and Greer families who had owned the land. In 1977, the Nature Conservancy awarded her with an Oak Leaf Award for "her single-handed efforts to preserve a key natural area.”[4]

Frances Brand portrait

Conant is one of several people commemorated by the late 20th-century artist Frances Brand as one of her Firsts series.

Elizabeth Conant
Elizabeth Conant

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Web. Remembering Two Great Alumnae: Helen Fricke Mathieson ’52 and Elizabeth Babbott Conant ‘51, Bergeron, Katherine, Connecticut College, 6 March, 2021, retrieved 16 June, 2022.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Web. Elizabeth 'Babs' Conant, 91, biology professor, scientist, activist, Staff, Obituary, The Buffalo News, August 26, 2020, retrieved May 5, 2022.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Web. The Ivy Creek Foundation Chronicles, Ivy Creek Foundation, retrieved May 4, 2022.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Web. The Origins of Ivy Creek Natural Area, Jones, Devry Becker, The Historical Marker Database, 4 April, 2021, retrieved 16 June, 2022.

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