SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
18 May 2017
Volume 18 Issue 5
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In Memoriam: Constance (Stans) Eikelenboom

Joke van Wensem, Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

We have received the sad news that SETAC Europe’s honorary member Constance (Stans) Eikelenboom passed away unexpectedly on 12 March 2017 at the age of 95. Eikelenboom was a regular participant of the SETAC Europe annual meetings until a few years ago. She is an outstanding example of a lifelong passion for environmental protection and environmental sciences.

Eikelenboom worked from 1961 to 1983 at the Keuringsdienst van Waren (Inspectorate for Health Protection and Veterinary Public Health) in the Netherlands. In 1977, she was the first chemist in the Netherlands to measure polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in cow's milk.

After her retirement in 1983, she continued her scientific work at universities, participated in international conferences and organized symposia, courses and awards. Locally, she was famous for her “tree course” for lay people.  People were drawn to her unique personality, and she always showed interest in the well-being of others.

In 2011, Eikelenboom asked all present at the celebration of her 90th birthday for a donation for a good project. On advice from SETAC Europe, the money was donated to CENDEP (Centre for Nursery Development and Eru Propagation). In appreciation for her support, CENDEP wrote her a poem (see below).  She dedicated her life to knowledge of – and thereby greater understanding of – biodiversity and its conservation. She was a true champion of a liveable earth. Her motto was, “Man is only a part of nature.”

We will miss her very much.


Constance (Stans) EikelenboomPoem for Mother Stans Eikelenboom

Years long ago our trees did bloom;
Giving all the riches for man to savour;
Fruit trees, timber, medicine and fuel wood.
But the rich and greedy learnt of the timber boom;
And the trees that once bloomed
Now need our favour
“The pole’s ice’re melting”, so we say
Our climate’s changing every day
The coast line’s rising night and day.
Thanks mother Constance Eikelenboom
For the seeds you’ve sown; which surely must bloom.
You’ve thought years ahead and planted great trees.
Trees whose shades our offspring shall sit in.
No wonder, some English folks once did say,
“She who plants a tree loves others beside herself”
Surely you’ve bequeathed to humanity
Forests and orchards for posterity.

–John Bunyui Njabi

Author’s contact information: joke.van.wensem@minienm.nl

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