February 10, 1956 – May 23, 2019
Susan Theresa Rudnicki passed away on May 23, 2019 at the age of 63. Susan was born on February 10, 1956 in Burwell, Nebraska. She attended San Diego State University for her undergraduate years, followed by graduate work in dental hygiene at the University of Southern California.
Susan dedicated her life to the protection and proliferation of the natural world. Besides her monthly donations to financially support up to 90 different associations focused on the preservation of the environment, Susan is widely respected across the South Bay and greater Los Angeles area for a lifetime of volunteer work in botanical gardens, animal rescue, animal advocacy, petitioning progressive environmental policy, and beekeeping/bee rescuing.
Susan took every opportunity to develop native California habitats and to service established botanical gardens. She directly advised the initial development and design of the Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden. She cultivated a diverse native landscape at her home and invited the greater Los Angeles community for garden tours, school field trips, and therapeutic retreats. She was an avid volunteer at the Huntington Botanical Gardens teaching about beehives/beekeeping, guiding garden tours, and assisting at a variety of other annual events.
Susan's home garden is widely recognized as a native wildlife habitat, pollinator proliferator, and animal sanctuary. Her garden was certified 15 years ago by the Native Wildlife Federation as a Wildlife Sanctuary and became a notable landmark for native garden tours in Los Angeles. Susan fostered a variety of chickens, ducks, geese, and rabbits that previous owners had abandoned, abused, or rejected. She transformed countless animal lives to make them feel calm, welcome, and loved in the comfort of her garden. Her local efforts in animal care significantly impacted the lives of those working at Lucky Duck Rescue & Sanctuary, Too Many Bunnies, and Trust, Love, Respect Horse Rescue.
Susan fought tirelessly for national and local government policy changes that supported the environment. During her graduate years, her efforts landed her a position as West LA Chapter Chief of Zero Population Growth. She spent several years as a key figure in the American Wild Horse Campaign, advocating for the humane management of wild horses on public land across the United States. In her later years, Susan was the co-founder and driving force of the Manhattan Beach Pollinators Alliance, that which recently changed local government policy to ban use of non-organic pesticides that threaten the lives of pollinators in Manhattan Beach.
Susan's fierce, unwavering activism was matched by her drive to educate herself and others. She utilized the power of our interconnected world to collect sound and respected peer-reviewed research that backed up her concerns about the drastic changes occurring on our planet. She took every chance to teach others about the anthroposcene's greatest threats to the environment and its inhabitants. Every conversation on human-orchestrated atrocities was a time where she could help others recognize how they can directly impact the conservation of the natural world. Susan did all of this because of the deep love she held for our planet. Every moment in life was a chance for her to give back, to show gratitude for nature's bountiful glory by making others aware of our need to consistently protect it.
Susan committed the final decade of her life to rescuing, rehoming, and rejuvenating beehives across the Los Angeles area. She was consistently relied upon by LAX for rescuing swarms on airport property and countless local residents of Los Angeles who discovered hives in their walls or around their property. She spent years volunteering as the sole bee rescuer for Manhattan Beach Public Works, rescuing and rehoming beehives across Manhattan Beach in humane, chemical-free processes. She continued to mentor beekeeping apprentices all the way into the final days of her life.
Although Susan is directly survived by her two sons, Rhett Rudnicki and Colin Peterson, she survives in the memories of the countless communities she has impacted, countless individuals who were fortunate to experience her boundless compassion. She will be remembered as a monumental guardian of nature and all its accompanied accolades.
A MEMORIAL WILL BE HELD AT SUSAN'S HOME IN MANHATTAN BEACH ON JUNE 23. ALL THOSE INTERESTED ARE WELCOME. PLEASE CONTACT COLIN PETERSON AT 310-912-9240 FOR FURTHER DETAILS.
Published in The Beach Reporter on Jun. 19, 2019.