Elizabeth Schueler

President, Manomet

The Manomet community is deeply saddened by the loss of Emily “Paddy” V. Wade, a loyal friend, dedicated enthusiast, and supporter of Manomet for more than four decades. Paddy joined the Manomet Board of Trustees in 1981, serving until her recent death at the age of 98.

Emily "Paddy" V. Wade
Emily “Paddy” V. Wade

Born in 1925, Paddy served as a vibrant career volunteer with a deep interest in on-the-ground science and a talent for bringing people together to educate the next generation. From an early age, Paddy showed a facility for math and science. After high school in Virginia, she enrolled as one of only seven women in a freshman class of 728 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she earned a degree in chemistry in the class of 1945.

A lifelong land conservationist and naturalist, she and her husband, Jeptha Wade, were the owners of two important forest properties in Georgia – a 200-acre old-growth forest and a 4,000-acre property also containing significant old-growth stands where they research the ecology and preservation of the longleaf pine/wiregrass ecosystem.

In 1983, she co-founded the Museum Institute for Teaching Science with the directors of seven Boston museums to help inspire and engage elementary school teachers in inquiry-based science learning at a critical time when interest in technology and science was on the wane. In 2019, the organization changed its name to the Wade Institute for Science Education to reflect its ongoing mission and honor Paddy’s leadership.

Paddy Wade with William S. Brewster, who served as a fellow trustee for many years.

Paddy’s interest in bird banding research came in the 1950’s, thanks to its introduction by a friend, then director of research at the Massachusetts Audubon Society, Dr. William Drury. She met Kathleen “Betty” Anderson, the founder of Manomet, while banding birds on Duxbury Beach. Legend has it that Paddy taught Betty how to “skull” birds (the process of harmlessly measuring skull ossification to determine their age) on the spot. She also joined rustic expeditions in early Manomet days to band birds in the rainforest and savannas of Belize and shorebird-related trips to New Jersey and Little St. Simons Island, Georgia. Between 1952 and 2010, Paddy documented 4,175 records with one or more birds logged daily in the journals she kept at her home in Bedford, Massachusetts.

Paddy served as Chair of Manomet from 1993 to 2010 during which time she reinforced the unwavering focus on science. One Trustee reflected: “Paddy was my guiding light on the Manomet Board. It was through her example and encouragement that I increased my commitment to Manomet, aside from volunteer banding. She kept a laser focus on the core tenet of Manomet’s strength: Science.”

Paddy Chaired Manomet during a formative time in the organization’s evolution when it expanded its mission to ensure that science was being applied. At the time, this approach was novel. It was an organizational risk, but Paddy’s commitment and credibility as a scientist made her the perfect person to lead the organization through this shift, recalls Linda Leddy, Manomet’s President at the time. To this day, Manomet remains committed to utilizing science to address real-time conservation and human livelihood issues.

As a Trustee, she was notably approachable, cared deeply about staff, and was endlessly intrigued by the work of the scientists. “I will always remember Paddy as a highly accomplished woman and a dedicated supporter of our work who was always interested in our latest scientific discoveries. She was a dear friend who loved to talk over anything from pickle recipes to backyard birds,” reflects Dr. Stephen Brown, VP of Science at Manomet.

In June 2010, Manomet established the Paddy V. Wade Fellowship for Science to honor Wade’s service and dedication. Awarded annually to a Manomet scientist to fund “those ideas that best articulate the spirit and excitement of scientific discovery through field research,” the fellowship honors her steadfast commitment to science.

I have had the good fortune of getting to know Paddy since joining as Manomet’s President in 2020. She always met me with enthusiasm and was endlessly curious and an active and compassionate listener. She was humble, gracious, and grateful to those working to advance an organization she cared so deeply about.

Paddy was a gentle giant. We will forever cherish her dedication to Manomet and to science and science education.