Betsy Knight will be remembered as a woman who devoted a major portion of her life to Florida’s wildlife. She served as a member of the FWF board of directors from 1995 to 2008. Betsy passed away on February 17, 2012 at the age of 73. Up until two years ago, Betsy was the only wildlife rehabilitator in Florida who was certified to rehabilitate bear cubs. It took a great deal of convincing by Betsy for the state’s wildlife agency to allow her to raise bear cubs that were orphaned by firesor auto collisions. In 1985, Betsy received permission to raise two cubs whose mother was killed in Wewahitchka. They were successfully returned to the wild when released by wildlife agency staff in the Ocala National Forest nine months later. From that time on, Betsy continued to receive orphaned bear cubs and raised a total of 45 that were later released into the wild. In 1988 Betsy founded the Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary in Calhoun County. She cared for many other injured or orphaned wildlife including bald eagles, bobcats, white tail deer, red shouldered and red tailed hawks, owls and many more.
Betsy Knight was born in Orlando and spent the first years of her life in that area before moving to Tallahassee and then to Calhoun County in 1962. She was a loving mother to her four children, nine grandchildren and one great grandchild. Environmental education was very important to Betsy and, for the last 30 years, she and her volunteers brought permanently injured eagles, owls and other small creatures from the wildlife sanctuary into the classrooms of Florida schools with presentations and discussions about proper treatment of wildlife in Florida. Betsy and her entourage could be found at the Wakulla Springs Wildlife Festival year after year as well as many other outdoor festivals around North Florida. She also loved the annual Bear Festival in Umatilla. Betsy, who was an Eagle Club member of FWF, will be missed by her many friends and colleagues. The Florida Wildlife Federation was grateful to have Betsy serve on the board of directors for thirteen years. She worked very hard for the protection and care of Florida’s wildlife. She was their personal advocate and protector.
Services were held on Tuesday, February 21st. For any information needed contact Peavey Funeral Home, 20367 NW Evans Avenue
, Blountstown, FL 32424. (850) 674-2266.
-Diane Hines, V.P. of Admin.