Jocelyn Arundel Sladen, a longtime Warrenton resident, author and conservationist who helped found the Virginia Native Plant Society and other local and national ecological nonprofits, died at her Warrenton home on Wildcat Mountain on Thursday, June 29.
She was 93.
Described in her obituary as an “ardent champion of efforts to protect nature,” “Jocey,” as she was known to friends and family, began her career as a journalist for The Washington Daily News and went on to work for the International Union for
the Conservation of Nature, the first international conservation organization.
Sladen also wrote 10 children’s books as well as articles for National Geographic and children’s magazine Ranger Rick and “large portions of the first natural history encyclopedia for young readers, published by Funk and Wagnalls,” according to
“She really had a great sense of communicating with young people about nature and knew how to approach them on the subject and make it exciting and fun for them, as well as educational,” said Doug Larson, president of the Clifton Institute’s board
“She exposed the natural world to younger audiences in a way that was impactful on hundreds and hundreds of children who had the chance to be with her firsthand.”
In a 2017 article in the Fauquier Times, Sladen was quoted about her work to educate children about the natural environment.
“I had come to realize that our children, and children all over the world, growing up amid swelling populations and vanishing natural frontiers, will have both a desperate need to find renewed contacts with nature and yet a harder time fulfilling that
need,” she once said. “The toughest conservation problems will be their responsibilities.”
Sladen served on the board of directors of the Clifton Institute, a 900-acre nonprofit ecological preserve and research center in Warrenton that Sladen’s late husband, Dr. William Sladen, helped found in the late 1990s.
Dr. William Sladen was a medical doctor, an expert in ecology and a longtime faculty member at Johns Hopkins University. He researched bird migratory patterns, and his efforts to teach orphaned Canada geese how to migrate with the help of an ultralight
aircraft were featured in the 1996 film “Fly Away Home.” Dr. William Sladen died in 2017 at age 96.
Jocelyn Arundel Sladen was born in Washington, D.C., and attended the National Cathedral School and Smith College.
Jocelyn Sladen raised three children "and an endless lineup of other animals, from racoons to horses,” her obituary said...
Washington Daily News, Washington, D.C., writer, 1952-53; International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Brussels, Belgium, and Washington, D.C., U.S. liaison and public relations chief, 1955-57; National Geographic Society,
Washington, D.C., writer, School Service Bulletin, 1957-58.
Clubs of America award, 1958, for Simba of the White Mane.
WORKS (under the name Jocelyn Arundel; five were illustrated by Wesley Dennis)
ALL PUBLISHED BY WHITTLESEY HOUSE, EXCEPT AS INDICATED
Simba of the White Mane, 1958.
Jingo, Wild Horse of Abaco, 1959.
Dugan and the Hobo, 1960.
Mighty Mo, Story of an African Elephant, 1961.
Whitecap's Song, 1962.
Shoes for Punch, McGraw, 1964.
The Wildlife of Africa, Hastings House, 1965.
Little Stripe, an African Zebra, Hastings House, 1967.
Land of the Zebra, National Wildlife Federation, 1974.
Lions and Tigers, National Wildlife Federation, 1974.
(With JoAnn McGregor and Terence Ranger) Violence & Memory: One Hundred Years in the "Dark Forests" of Matabeleland, Heinemann (Portsmouth, NH), 2000.
The Unsettled Land: State-making & the Politics of Land in Zimbabwe, 1893-2003, Weaver Press (Athens, OH), 2006.