Remembering Our Friend and Colleague Elyssa Rosen

  • November 18, 2013

On Saturday, Oct. 26, Elyssa Rosen, a longtime communications officer for The Pew Charitable Trusts' environment group, died while on a recreational scuba diving trip off Hobart, Australia. Elyssa was in Australia with a Pew team advocating for the designation of large marine reserves in Antarctica's Southern Ocean. She was doing what she loved, fighting to protect some of the world's last great wild places.

Elyssa was remarkable in many ways. While she was a fierce and relentless advocate for conservation, her artistic side created delicate and beautiful pottery, an aspect of her that many were unaware of.

Elyssa's woodfired pots

Before joining Pew, she worked for the Sierra Club, Save Our Wild Salmon, Tigercomm, and a consulting firm she founded. She had a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois and a master's degree from the University of Colorado.

Over the years at Pew, Elyssa's work helped protect the Grand Canyon from uranium mining; conserve large swaths of the Canadian boreal forest; and implement the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which protected 50 million acres of roadless areas in the United States.

Elyssa on the Phone

Joshua Reichert, executive vice president of environmental initiatives at Pew, said: “While she would never have claimed to represent anybody but herself and the organization for which she worked, Elyssa spoke for more than herself in her quest to save some of the world's most beautiful places, and carried that message with her and delivered it week in and week out in the most creative of ways. And she made a difference.”

Elyssa's deep commitment and passion for the environment was coupled with a warm, kind, fun-loving, and generous spirit. Jane Danowitz, a colleague and friend, remembered Elyssa as “a dedicated conservationist, who used her skill and savvy as a communicator to successfully convince audiences around the world why we must do more to save the planet.”

Steve Kallick, another colleague and friend, said “Those of us who were privileged to know and work with Elyssa will never forget her, and we will strive to carry on her mission, honoring her memory in our work.”