Obituaries & Reflections

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Sally Glean Center for the Avian Arts

JEANNE F. FOSSANI        Go To Jeanne's Professional Biography

Jeanne Fossani & friend

              w pretend birder

With injured tanager


Photo Bird of Paradise

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Saly Glean Home


from: Zeledonia: Boletin de la Associación Ornitológica de Costa Rica
Volumen 11, número 2, Noviembre 2007, p. 22
In memoriam: Jeanne F. Fossani

Las aves y la AOCR han perdido una gran amiga con el sensible fallecimiento de Jeanne F. Fossani el 24 de octubre. Jeanne murió en Burlington, Vermont (EEUU de A)  después de una larga enfermedad. Oriunda de Estados Unidos, enseñó durante 10 años en la EARTH. Era socia de la AOCR y dedicó a su vida a las aves y a su conservacíon, tanto en Costa Rica como en Estados Unidos y otros paises. Una amiga la decribió como una persona “que hacía más vividos los colores del mundo, amada por mucha gente.” La AOCR se une a todos aquellos que la echan de menos y recuerda con agradecimiento su compromiso en favor de las aves. Como un gesto de estima, se sugiere que este año se lleven acabo los varios conteos navideños con nombre de Jeanne Fossani.

 The Valley News of Burlington, Vermont:

Jeanne Frances Fossani
educator, birder and environmental agitator,
died Oct. 24, 2007
in Burlington, Vermont after a long battle with breast cancer.

      She was born on March 8, 1952, in Newark, N.J. and attended St. Mary’s Parochial School in Middletown, N.J.  She awoke to her elementary education the day they began diagramming sentences.   A love of grammar and a fiery independence drew her on to acquire fluency in French, Italian, Spanish and Greek in her 20’s through her own program of academic study, travel and work sojourns abroad.  Degrees earned were an Associate in Arts from Brookdale Community College in 1979,  a B.A., magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from New York University in 1982,  and a Masters in education from Rutgers State University of NJ in 1987.  She spent two years studying romance languages at the Sorbonne in Paris.

    Experimenting with techniques of language teaching she settled on methods which did not exclude structure and grammar but also made use of humor and a personal touch which greatly endeared her to her students.  These language classes evolved into class trips to Latin American destinations whereby she became a popular tour planner and leader.

    Born into a family business of fishing boats, tackle, and sporting goods, Jeanne became a knowledgeable advocate for marine ecosystems.  In the 70’s she worked  out of central New Jersey for Clean Ocean Action, which single-handedly stopped ocean dumping by New York City.  Her friendship with John Young of the Tom Brown School of Tracking introduced her to the world of birds, which was to remain ever her greatest love.  Birding and Spanish took her to the tropics.

    Jeanne folded environmental interests into her language teaching with finesse.   She spent seven years teaching English to students at EARTH University in Costa Rica, where she inspired a vivid interest in the students by incorporating issues of globalization of Latin America into the language curriculum.   She did not stop with the students.   Seeing the need for better communication with English speaking tourists, she created a special class for the guides, formerly hunters/poachers,  hired by the Rainforest Aerial Tram in Braulio Carillo.

    Her travels included 2 years’ teaching in Japan and birding tours to Africa and South America,  with frequent trips to Ecuador, Cuba, Brazil, Venezuela, Panama and Nicaragua.  She led tours for Community College of Vermont, Vermont Institute of Natural Science, the North Branch Nature Center and UVM.

    In the last 7 years Jeanne specialized in issues surrounding the coffee crisis,  incorporating her love of birds with undying concern about the eradication of tropical forests by rapacious corporate interests promoted and funded by the World Bank & International Monetary Fund.

    Unfinished projects included a language primer oraganized on grammatical principles with chapters featuring environmental heroes,  “Green English”, and her own little travel company, “Jeanne’s Java Jaunts”.

    She is survived by her sisters, Rosemarie Greene of Atlantic Highlands, N.J., and Barbara Weid of Statesboro, Ga.; nephews, nieces, cousins, and a legacy of devoted friends and students.

    Charitable contributions in her name may be directed to North Branch Nature Center, Sustainable Harvest Int’l and VINS.


The  Tico Tweeter:  The Newsletter  of  the Birding Club of Costa Rica
October 2007:

Jeanne F. Fossani: In Memoriam

We are sad to announce that Jeanne F. Fossani, an important figure in Costa Rican birding and an early member of the BCCR, passed away October 24th at the age of 55, in Burlington, Vermont, after a long struggle against cancer.

Jeanne was a formidable defender of bird habitat in Costa Rica, a pioneer in teaching observation techniques to Spanish-speaking volunteers, and an enthusiastic birder whose travels took her to four continents. A graduate of the Sorbonne and fluent in four languages, Jeanne had a genuine concern for others, a wicked sense of humor, and a gift for energizing the best efforts of those around her. She maintained an indomitable spirit and a love of life until the very end. She will be missed by the very many people who knew and loved her.

One of Jeanne’s priorities was nesting sites for the Great Green Macaw, whose population in Costa Rica is estimated to be no more than forty breeding pairs. Her friends and colleagues adopted in her name an almendro (wild almond) tree with a nesting pair of Green Macaws. The Proyecto Lapa Verde at the Centro Científico Tropical purchases the logging rights to trees with active Green Macaw nests and holds them in trust.

To make a donation, contact Alex Martinez at:
Mailing address: Alex Martinez · Box 13 · Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí · Heredia, · Costa Rica
Or phone him in Costa Rica (Alex speaks English) at 766-6265.

Memorial events were held by the Ornithological Association of Costa Rica and EARTH University.

Peter C. Reynolds