Had distinguished career in Kenya wildlife education
Rosalie Mary Osborn, 81, died on September 7, 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya, from complications of severe osteoporosis.
Though born in Scotland, Osborn became a Kenyan citizen, spending most of her life in Karen, a Nairobi suburb. Earning first a B.A. and later a masters degree in natural science from Cambridge University, United Kingdom, in 1962 and 1966, respectively, Osborn in between received a diploma in education from Makerere College at University of East Africa. In 1980 she added a masters degree in environmental studies from York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Osborn taught at several Kenyan women’s high schools, and from 1981 to 1985 taught a diploma course in wildlife conservation and management at Egerton College. She also worked 17 years for the Kenya National Parks, including as an education warden in Tsavo East National Park. Retiring in 1989, Osborn subsequently served on the boards of the National Museums of Kenya and Youth for Conservation, and volunteered for the East Africa Environmental Network, Friends of Nairobi National Park, The World Conservation Union, the Commission on Education and Communication, and Riverine Nature Reserve Trust, of which she founder.
Adopted Josphat Ngonyo
Recalled Josphat Ngonyo, who founded Youth for Conservation in 1998 and the Africa Network for Animal Welfare in 2006, “Being without parents from age 10, Rosalie opened her heart and home to me in 1988 when I was in form two (second grade) at Starehe Boys’ Center & School. This was thanks to Naomi Taluh, my loving and inspiring primary school headmistress, who was a close friend to Rosalie, and through whom I met Rosalie.
“Rosalie has not only been a guardian but a mother to me,” Ngonyo told ANIMALS 24-7. “Rosalie taught me responsibility, independence, and practical leadership. Though she would give me pocket money, she made sure that I earned it through hands-on jobs.
“Fanned love for nature”
“Rosalie inspired me into environmental conservation and animal welfare through exposure, such as visits to wildlife sanctuaries, participation in conservation forums and meeting, camping expeditions, and relevant readings. This fanned my love for nature and nurtured my knowledge and skills. She always kept companion animals, but never kept a grudge, and never left anything to chance. She took time to consult and seek a second and third opinion and often times fourth and fifth, and so on until she was completely satisfied that she had it right. This is evidenced by the time she took in consultations over her Trust Deed for the Riverine Nature Reserve Trust that she created.”
The Riverine Nature Reserve Trust preserves the wildlife habitat around Osborn’s home, Kifaru House, under management of the Africa Network for Animal Welfare.
“Great & memorable moments”
Added Agnes Ngonyo, wife of Josphat Ngonyo, “Rosalie was a friend who has been part of our family for the last 14 years. We shared great and memorable moments together from our wedding, birth of our children, her birthdays, Christmas, trips, weekend meals and several visits in our homes. I personally worked very closely with Rosalie in developing and fine-tuning the Riverine Nature Reserve Trust.
“I will forever be grateful to Rosalie for loving and adopting my husband,” Agnes Ngonyo continued. “I have no doubt that Rosalie’s influence in Josphat’s life highly impacted him to be the great gentleman and leader he is today.”
David Gies testifies
Affirmed Denver humane philanthropist David Gies, founder of ANAW-USA, “I met Rosalie in 2006 as a guest at Kifaru House. Rosalie was warm and welcoming, opening her home for the benefit of the Africa Network for Animal Welfare. Her house, with the Mbagathi River flowing through the lower end of her property, was the delight of her life.
“I remember sharing dinner with Rosalie every night during the fourteen months I visited Kenya over the last three years. Rosalie wouldn’t sit down to dinner until I made my way back to Kifaru House from the ANAW office,” Gies said. “She was such a good friend while I learned about Kenya and strived with Josphat Ngonyo and the staff at ANAW to build its animal welfare program. The sounds of the tree hyrax and great variety of birds are so unique to Karen Nairobi where Kifaru House is located. Rosalie would ask about the day and the work at hand, and we would discuss the dreams she had for Riverine Nature Reserve.
“Rosalie did not have any children, nor did she marry, but what Rosalie did have was a large heart for loving the people she met in Kenya.,” Gies continued. “ Rosalie was a teacher, a mentor and a friend to so many people. It wasn’t always an easy road for Rosalie, but she persevered through hardships and disfavor because of an inter commitment for what she knew and believed.”