Elizabeth Brown, an SFS Kenya and Tanzania 2013 student, embodied every aspect of the mission of SFS. She was an environmental leader who envisioned a sustainable world where communities are inspired to work together to find creative solutions to critical environmental problems. Elizabeth left behind an inspiring legacy with so many friends and family committed to environmental justice in her memory. During our 3 months in East Africa, our group developed a special and unbreakable bond that that still endures to this day. Although we are spread across the world in Tanzania, Panama, Ethiopia, Uganda, Colombia, and throughout the entire US, we continue to stay in touch and follow each other’s amazing journeys. Elizabeth was and continues to be one of the rocks in our groups that keeps us all together, making an effort to stay in touch with friends even when they are halfway across the world.
Elizabeth was a staunch advocate for environmental justice in addition to many other issues, such as gender equality and immigration. She lived every day to the fullest and appreciated every aspect of nature whether it be a blade of grass, a dung beetle, or a magnificent elephant. Some of her favorite memories from East Africa included getting her lunch stolen by a baboon, watching elephants (her favorite animal) wade in the wetlands, reading in a tree with zebras under her feet, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, and helping our young neighbor carry water to her family every day. Elizabeth was extremely passionate about water conservation, which she studied during her directed research project in Kenya. She built upon her research exploring the connection between land use and water quality along the Kimana-Kikarangot River in Kenya for her senior thesis and then went on to work for the Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy in Maryland. One could not imagine a person more genuine, driven, adventurous, and joyful than Elizabeth. She would often talk about how she had never been more at peace than when driving through the Serengeti with nothing in sight but the endless plains and no sounds but the wind.
SFS was an extremely special experience for Elizabeth and our entire class. Just as SFS believes in the importance of a diverse community uniting to develop solutions to today’s environmental issues, Elizabeth made space for everyone’s voice to be heard and would want to help make the life-changing experience of SFS possible for every student.
Our class has set up a memorial fund in Elizabeth’s name. Make a gift to grow this fund and honor her legacy.