On February 1, 2015, Rebecca “Beeps” Eldemire died when her ex-boyfriend killed her and then himself in Becca’s off-campus apartment in Oxford, Ohio. Becca was a junior at Miami University, studying geography and geographic information science, ever in pursuit of the care and nurturing of life on our planet. She was 21 years old when she died.
Becca’s story does not end with the tragedy of her untimely and violent death. The power of love and Becca’s passion for creation inspired others to continue her goal to make a difference in the world. Becca’s life, vision, and memory lives on through the BEEPS Foundation, an organization based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
BEEPS Foundation: Betterment for Environmental and Earth Protection
Becca’s childhood nickname, BEEPs, stands for Betterment for Environmental and Earth Protection. The BEEPS Foundation was created in Becca’s honor, to continue the good work Becca started. From Cincinnati to as far away as Africa, the BEEPS Foundation seeks to build a more sustainable and peaceful world.
Although Becca grew up in a suburb of Columbus, one of her dreams was to become a farmer, to raise and grow her own food, start a farm-to-table restaurant, and teach others about where their food came from, all with the intentions of helping people see how they can make the earth more sustainable. According to a classmate of hers at Miami, Becca spent the summer of 2014 working at That Guy’s Family Farm in Clarksville, Ohio, learning about and caring for the creation she loved.
To carry on Becca’s love of growing sustainable food sources, the BEEPS Foundation funds a series of organic, self-sustaining local farms, which provide both reliable sources of food as well as training ground for students and interns who share the same passion Becca had. For three years now, BEEPS has sponsored interns at the same farm Becca worked for the summer before she was killed.
“Go Outside Today No Matter What and Sit”
Becca’s words, “Go outside today no matter what and sit” captures her love and appreciation for the outdoors. This statement was found after Becca’s death in a letter with four statements of wisdom that reverberate now, long after she has passed:
Go outside no matter what and sit.
Wait for a while until you sigh and
can’t think of anything else.
Have a good time.
P.S. Stay in touch with same friends.
Those words live on today at Miami University, which is home to two of Becca’s gardens, a native species butterfly garden outside of Shideler Hall, and a new garden behind McGuffey Museum. The new garden is an edible garden that is intended to educate the public about sustainable produce and plants that are native to the southern Ohio region. In 2016, Miami University planted a tree in Becca’s honor. It continues to thrive today, blessing the campus with its brilliant foliage and shade.
Recently, the BEEPS Foundation partnered with Dr. Michele Simmon’s Environmental Communications students, Duke Energy, David Prytherch, and student volunteers from Miami University to host a “Learn how to make a pollinator garden” demonstration at uptown Oxford’s EarthFest. The event taught participants how to plant and take care of black-eyed Susans and purple cone flowers. Participants also received a starter kit with the tools they need to maintain their gardens. The organization also started a Facebook community group for those who started a BEEPS pollinator garden.
The Tanzania Project
Becca spent a summer teaching English at a primary school in the Tanzanian village of Arusha. This deeply rewarding experience inspired the BEEPS Foundation to carry on the work Becca started at the Ngyeku Primary School. The Foundation partners with several NGOs to help bring education, sanitation, and gender equality to the village. Among other donations, the organization has provided much needed fruit trees, including pomegranate, mango, avocado, and lemon, and sports equipment to Samaria School in Tanzania.
How You Can Support BEEPS
Many different people have worked hard to carry Becca’s memory forward, including Logan Patterson of New Albany, Ohio, who earned his Eagle Scout Badge creating a beautiful bench in Becca’s honor. It sits in the same wetlands where Becca discovered her love of the earth.
You can lend your hand to furthering the work of the BEEPS Foundation by donating on their website, following their Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter accounts, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about partnering to further Becca’s memory and mission.
The painful realities of violence and death don’t have to get the final word. Through love, the most beautiful things can rise from the ashes of our loss. Becca’s life work continues through the BEEPS Foundation.