Dr. Gladys B. Black


"If there are such things as human treasures I feel us Iowans have one in Gladys Black. We here in Iowa are very fortunate to have such a person who has spent so much of her time and energies working to help preserve our natural surroundings..."
—Wade E. Sheeler, 1983

Dr. Gladys B. Black is known for her untiring efforts to educate Iowans about their natural surroundings and the need for protecting the environment for future generations. Her columns on Iowa's native birds have appeared regularly in The Des Moines Register and other publications, and she has led hundreds of school children on nature hikes where they discovered the beauty of Iowa's countryside and wildlife. In 1978, she was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Simpson College, Indianola, for being one of the nation's leading ornithologists, with a special knowledge of the nesting and migration patterns of American birds. In addition, her early distinguished work as a public health nurse in rural Iowa underscores her reputation as a humanitarian and conservationist. She was born on a farm east of Pleasantville, Iowa in 1909.Black was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1985.

UPDATE: Black published weekly bird columns in the Knoxville Journal Express, Pella Chronicle, and the Marion County News. She also presented programs for civic and church groups on Birds of Red Rock or Birds of the Bible. Dr. Black assisted in "Environmental Education" Days for all sixth graders of Marion County and participated in many book signings for her book, Iowa Birdlife. Black died on July 19, 1998.