HAZEL WOLF — ACTIVIST AND ENVIRONMENTALIST
Hazel Wolf, born on the 10th of March 1898, was a Canadian-born American activist and environmentalist. Born to an American mother and a Canadian father, Hazel Wolf lived in Seattle for most parts of her life, before she died at the age of 101 after she had lived to see three different centuries. She was a longtime advocate for environmental causes and wrote many environmental articles to lay stress on certain environmental issues.
Born in Victoria in March 1898, Ms. Wolf grew up a fighter after her father died when she was only eight years old. In her life time, she fought for many different reasons and emerged on top most of the time. She fought with her school’s principal to play soccer, fought for women’s suffrage, fought for money to set upenvironmental training courses for kids, fought for the right to smoke, taking up the habit at 18, in 1917, just to prove she could. She married at a young age and was divorced soon after. She moved to America in 1923 with her daughter where she joined the American Communist Party and worked to get civil rights for blacks and better jobs for everyone. After World War II, her interest in the party faded out and the American government tried to deport her to Britain in 1947 because of her sympathies with Britain.
Again, Ms. Wolf fought against the Administration and was dubbed as The Red Grandma in 1949. She became an American citizen and started working with Seattle civil-rights attorney John Caughlan. Her environmental activism began in the early 1960s, when she joined the National Audubon Society and voted in favor of the environmental houses. She was the co-founder of Seattle Audubon Society and was the local chapter’s secretary for 37 years. She was a noted environmental speaker and gave her take on what green solutions needed to happen. Her environmental articles have been read by millions across the globe. For her efforts, she was awarded the National Audubon Society’s Medal of Excellence in 1977 and the State of Washington Environmental Excellence Award in 1978.
She took her activities seriously, but never herself. It was her great sense of humor and wit that used to give her an edge while negotiating. Hazel Wolf never cared about her health and was always up for adventure. She wanted to attend the World Trade Organization protests but a broken hip kept her out of the action. But later, a broken arm was not able to stop her from delivering her speech for a conference in Cle Elum. She did that against the wishes of her doctors. In 1996, on her 98th birthday, Washington State Governor Mike Lowery declared March 10th as “Hazel Wolf Day”. For her 100th birthday, King County honored her environmental activism by renaming the Eastside’s Saddle Swamp the Hazel Wolf Wetlands. She died at the age of 101, just 19 days after achieving her goal of living into the third millennium. Her death has left a void in Seattle’s environmental and social activism scene.
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