Mission Statement

Susie Zielinski

The Susan Zielinski Natural Science Fund (the Fund) has been created under the Gleason Public Library Endowment Fund at the Gleason Public Library (the Library) to benefit the natural environment and the people of the Town of Carlisle. The Fund will support forums, lectures, exhibits and additions to the collection in the areas of geology and ecology, and the protection of wildlife, biological diversity, and the environment.


The Fund honors the memory of Carlisle native Susan Elizabeth Zielinski (1970-2008) and reflects Susie’s love of the natural world and of the town where she grew up. The Fund was established in March 2009 by Susie’s parents, Sally and Robert Zielinski, who are long-time residents of Carlisle.

Uses of Monies

Monies in the Fund may be used for the following purposes:

  • Programs such as forums, lectures and guided field trips held in Carlisle
  • Additions to the collection such as books, CDs, DVDs, videos, books on tape
  • Exhibits

The subject areas within natural science for which expenditures may be made from the Fund include:

  • Geology and ecology
  • Protection of wildlife, biological diversity, and the environment

These may be interpreted broadly. For example, the protection of biological diversity would include field guides and other sources of information on plant and animal species – both common and rare, native and introduced – and on the elimination of invasives.

Materials would be primarily non-fiction. However, science-based works of fiction such as the mysteries of Sarah Andrews (whose main character is a geologist) would qualify.


Donations of monies may be made to the Fund; donations should be made by check made out to the Zielinski Natural Science Fund, mailed to the address below. The Library may, at its discretion, also accept donations of books and other materials for the collection.

The financial resources of the Fund are to be considered part of the Library Endowment Fund. The interest accrued by the principal of the Fund shall be expended on an annual or biennial basis beginning with the calendar year 2009. At least $200 on an annual basis or $400 on a biennial basis shall be expended from the Fund resources.

The Library Trustees shall manage the Fund’s financial resources. The principal of the Fund shall be managed by the Board of Gleason Public Library Endowment and invested in an appropriate fashion under the general investment principles of the Endowment Fund.

Mailing Address:
Susan Zielinski Natural Science Fund
Gleason Library Endowment
22 Bedford Rd
Carlisle, MA 01741


Susie and her husband Jonah in Bavaria 2004. Castle Neuschwanstein is in the distant mist.
Susie and her husband Jonah in Bavaria 2004. Castle Neuschwanstein is in the distant mist.

Coastal geologist, good friend

Susan Elizabeth Zielinski, age 38, died on August 29, 2008 at her home in Mountain View, California of complications from breast cancer. A Carlisle native, Susie was the daughter of Sally and Bob Zielinski of Acton Street. She was also a wife, sister, and friend; a geologist, skilled watercolor painter, sculptor in stone, woodworker, hiker, gardener, fencer, horsewoman, hockey player and avid reader. She loved critters, especially her “boys” – two 14-year-old cats that were with her since graduate school – and two dogs from rescue shelters. She was loved in turn and will be missed terribly by extended family and friends on three coasts and beyond, her co-workers, and her hockey “buds.”

Susie was born on April 30, 1970, in Concord. She attended the Carlisle public schools and Concord-Carlisle High School. She graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College in 1992 with a degree in geology, and received her masters degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – with a focus on coastal processes. She participated in beach erosion studies on the North Carolina Outer Banks and “went to the bottom of the ocean” in a deep-water submersible surveying fresh-water outflows off the coast of Florida.

Susie then moved to California where work for the U.S. Geological Survey took her to Micronesia and other parts of the Pacific. For the past ten years Susie was with the San Francisco office of the URS Corporation, an international environmental consulting firm. Her friend and colleague, Ian Austin, offered these words: “Susie got her Professional Geologist (PG) license on the first try – extremely impressive as it is virtually unheard of. Her professional legacy is that of someone who was very bright, and demanded and produced top quality work, all with a great sense of humor and a wonderfully irreverent streak.”

At URS Susie worked on a variety of projects. These included helping develop a remediation process for underground contamination at San Francisco Airport and collecting and analyzing wake data for an environmental impact study of a proposed commuter ferry system in San Francisco Bay. She also developed computer models for a lighting system study relative to a proposed liquefied natural gas terminal on islands off the coast of Baja, California and its impact on a proximate bird sanctuary and studied ship ballast-water treatment to prevent introduction of invasive species at the Port of Oakland. Most recently she participated in a tidal and wave-power generation feasibility study using submerged systems near the Golden Gate Bridge.

In California, Susie met her husband, Jonah Flower, who grew up in Northampton. They were married in June 2000 in the garden at Massachusetts Audubon’s Habitat Sanctuary in Belmont. Many guests called it “the best wedding ever.” The brief shower after the ceremony just gave more variety to the picture-taking opportunities.

Susie was an accomplished athlete. She lettered in cross-country and track in high school, and in college was a member of the All New England Fencing Team. She played for many years in the Northern California Women’s Hockey League, attending tournaments in Los Angeles, San Jose, Tucson, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

In addition to her parents and husband, Susie is survived by her brother Steve Zielinski of Nashua, New Hampshire, and her maternal grandmother, Rose Handel, of The Woodlands, Texas.

Excerpted from the Carlisle Mosquito, September 12, 2008.

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