Former UND professor of sociology and environmental advocate Glinda Crawford to be remembered July 15 at site of prairie garden project she helped spearhead on campus
When Richard Crawford decided to hold a celebration for his late wife, Glinda Crawford, he called the Department of American Indian Student Services (AISS) to ask for a favor.
Glinda, a former UND professor of sociology, had a special connection to AISS, and Richard wanted the department to be involved in a celebration of life for his wife.
After agreeing to assist, AISS and Glinda’s family began solidifying plans for a remembrance in her honor on Friday, July 15. The remembrance is slated to start with family and friends sharing stories at the Soaring Eagle Prairie Project, behind the Chester Fritz Library on UND’s main campus quad, at 10:30 a.m. Then it will move to the American Indian Center, 315 Princeton Street, where lunch will be served.
Glinda was one of the people who spearheaded the creation of the Soaring Eagle Prairie Project, a small plot of native prairie grass and other vegetation in the middle of the UND campus. It is easily identified by the tall bronze sculpture of a soaring eagle (designed by Bennett Brien).
Courtney Souvannasacd is the administrative assistant at AISS and is in charge of setting up the ceremony. The event will be a celebration of life. Friends, family and anyone who knew Glinda are encouraged attend and to share any stories about her they may know.
Honoring Glinda’s wishes, the ceremony will start off with honor and prayer songs by Rivers Edge Drum Group.
Glinda was a professor at UND from 1975 -2005. Upon her retirement, she moved back to her native Missouri with Richard, a UND Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Biology Emeritus. Remembered as a popular professor and environmentalist, Glinda first ran UND’s Home Economics Education program. Afterwards, she moved on to the sociology department, establishing an environmental studies program, where she worked until her retirement.
In honor of Glinda, her husband, Richard, shared a quote she once said:
“We do this work for the children, those here now and those coming, those human and non-human, those whose lives depend on our actions now.”
Blogging her passion
Glinda moved back to Missouri to live on her family farm, the Butterfly Hill Farm, and started a blog to record her thoughts and day-to-day interactions. Filled with her ideas and love for nature, the blog also depicts her as a loving mother and wife.
After sometime, Glinda’s blog began to gain attention. In a post, on Oct. 10, 2012, Crawford described her blog and the surprising impact it had on her life:
“Along the way, 2227[sic] posts were set down on this little address, and over 61,000 visitors came along side,” Crawford wrote. “Including 2 distant relatives and their families (one in Germany and another in California) whom I had never known.”
Robert Newman is an associate professor of biology at UND. As a longtime friend of Richard Crawford, he regularly visited with Glinda. He remembers her as not only a person who was passionate about the environment, but as a person who was able to inspire others to share in her passion.
“This isn’t about biology, it’s about what people value and how they interact with the world around them,” Newman said. “If you want to actually change the world you have to make sure people appreciate the things that are out there.”
Newman remembers how much both Glinda and Richard loved the environment, and how they wanted to make sure they left a lasting impression, not just with UND, but with everyone who might be passionate about nature.
“(They) wanted to leave something behind and something that would contribute to education and to maintenance of prairie,” Newman said about the Crawford’s Oakville Prairie donation.
While the Oakville native prairie is a sizable contribution both Glinda and Richard have made to the area, there are also tiny reminders of Glinda across the campus itself.
“When you think of Glinda you think of the prairie plants they put up next to the library (Soaring Eagle Prairie Project),” Newman said. “It’s a reminder that we have this legacy around here…that was her work, she was the driving force for that.”
Matt Eidson University & Public Affairs student writer