Honoring Don & Betsy Whitehead
by Ann Connors, Development Director
This article originally appeared in the winter/spring 2019 issue of The Twig, our member newsletter. To see more articles and past issues, click here.
Family and friends of Don and Betsy Whitehead gathered recently at Sycamore’s Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula Preserve on Lake Monroe to honor the memory of Don and Betsy, who both passed away in early 2018.
The Whitehead family and their friends donated funds to name the nature trail and a bench in memory of Don and Betsy. They selected this nature preserve because Don had spent a great deal of time at Lake Monroe studying and documenting migratory birds.
It was a moving dedication ceremony, where attendees spoke fondly of the couple’s love of nature, birds, and flowers. They acknowledged the lasting positive impact Don has had on so many people through his biology classes at IU and his decades of leading public bird walks and bird counts in south-central Indiana.
As Don’s daughter Pam told us: “It meant so much to us all to be able to gather and remember my dad and Betsy and to walk the trail together. Everyone had a wonderful time. Our family loves the thought that the bench and trail will be there always for people to enjoy for years to come!”
Don and Betsy were well-revered environmentalists and birders, and long-time residents of Bloomington. Before moving to Bloomington, Betsy was the Executive Assistant to the Director at the Kennedy Institute for Politics at Harvard, and was active locally as a volunteer for Sycamore and for Area 10 Agency on Aging. Don was a biology professor at Indiana University from 1967 to 1997. The Whiteheads were two of Sycamore Land Trust’s earliest supporters, and Don was a member of Sycamore’s Advisory Board. They were also members of Sassafras Audubon Society for many years.
We are grateful to the Whiteheads for their decades of positive impact on conservation in Bloomington, and to their friends and family for recognizing the couple with this generous gift. For more information on naming opportunities, click here.