The Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon: Lessons from the Past for a Sustainable Future
Dr. Stanley Temple
Time: 7:00 – 8:00 pm, free and open to the public
Location: Leopold Center
In 1914 the last surviving Passenger Pigeon died in a Cincinnati zoo, ending a calamitous half-century in which the pigeon declined from billions to one and then to none as a result of uncontrolled market hunting and the resulting disruption of nesting colonies. The loss of one of the world’s most abundant birds stands as the iconic extinction event in our country’s history. The 2014 centennial of this tragedy offers a very “teachable moment” about the world’s ongoing extinction crisis and our relationship with other species. Wisconsin is a focal point because of our state’s history of involvement with the pigeon. Accounts by early Wisconsin naturalists, such as John Muir, describe flocks darkening Wisconsin’s sky. In 1871 the largest nesting ever recorded occurred in central Wisconsin. That colony of many millions of birds covered 850 square miles with nests in almost every tree. In 1947 the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology erected the Passenger Pigeon Monument at Wyalusing State Park, and for the occasion Aldo Leopold penned one of the most poignant essays ever written about extinction, “On a Monument to the Pigeon” which later appeared in his classic book A Sand County Almanac. A. W. (Bill) Schorger, one of Wisconsin’s most prolific natural historians, literally “wrote the book” on the Passenger Pigeon. His 1952 University of Wisconsin Press book stands as the definitive account of the species’ life history and extinction.
Stanley Temple is a Senior Fellow and Science Advisor with the Aldo Leopold Foundation. For more than thirty years he was the Beers-Bascom Professor in Conservation in the Department of Wildlife Ecology at University of Wisconsin-Madison, a position originally held by Aldo Leopold himself. His talk marks the centennial of the extinction of the passenger pigeon in 1914.
Annual Events at the Leopold Center
Third Saturday in May, Annual Event
2014 event date: Saturday, May 17
12:00 - 4:00pm
Every spring, we kick off our visitation season with our annual Family Day event at the Leopold Center! This is a free, family-friendly event, featuring hands-on activities for kids and families. The day has included hikes, live reptiles, hayrides, watercolor painting, and more! Your family can visit the Leopold Shack and explore the woods, prairies, and river just like the Leopold family did 75 years ago. Food is available for purchase on-site. Come on out and bring the kids for an afternoon of fun!
If you would you would like to volunteer during this event please contact Anna Hawley at email@example.com or 608-355-0279.
Good Neighbor Day
Free admission for our public guided Shack tour on Saturday at 1 p.m. to anyone who brings in a donation for the local food pantry. Good neighbor day is run in conjunction with the International Crane Foundation which will have a similar free admission program running the same weekend.
Artist applications due September 1 - details here.
Last Saturday in October, Annual Event
2014 Event Date: Saturday, October 25
Every fall, we end our visitation season with our annual Leopold Center Art Discovery Day event at the Leopold Center. Art Day is fun for the whole family! It features presentations, demonstrations, and time for individual interaction with each artist. Each year we select a group of inspiring regional artists and artisans that find inspiration in the land ethic and the natural world for their work. This is a great event to discover new art and maybe even start your holiday shopping a little early. Join us! If you are an artist or artisan who would like to submit an application for consideration to be a part of Art Discovery Day, please contact Anna Hawley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-355-0279.
Late October/Early November, Annual Event
Friday, October 17th, 4:30 - 6:30 pm
Saturday, October 25th, 4:30 - 6:30 pm
Friday, November 7th, 3:30 – 5:30 pm
Saturday, November 8th, 3:30 – 5:30 pm
Every fall, thousands of sandhill cranes use the sandbars and islands in the Wisconsin River for staging prior to migration. Seeing and hearing these spectacular congregations of birds is an absolutely incredible experience. The river just behind the Aldo Leopold Shack and Farm property provides the most premier vantage point for crane viewing available in the region. Program dates and registration willl be announced first to Aldo Leopold Foundation members. Join today to be the first to hear about this amazing wildlife viewing opportunity!
Leopold Center trails now open!
Our new upland trail system is now open for hikers to explore. Stop by anytime we are open and ask for a trail map to head out and explore! New interpretive signs have recently been installed to help visitors read the landscape they are exploring.. The development of the interpretive trail was funded in part by grants from the Sauk County UW-Extension Arts & Culture Committee, the Natural Resources Foundation's Besadny Grant Program, and the Greater Sauk County Community Foundation. Thank you!
Brown Bag Seminars
Thoughout the year, the foundation will offer periodic brownbag seminars from 12-1:30pm on weekdays. Our brown bag lecture series presents cutting-edge ecological research and new interpretations of Aldo Leopold’s writing and philosophy. Bring a bag lunch and join us for these free lunchtime talks at the Leopold Center (get directions here), then plan to stay for the afternoon to tour the Shack, hike our trails, or explore our exhibits to learn more about Leopold’s legacy.
We currently have no Brown Bag Seminars scheduled.
Woodland School Workshops
Fall classes coming soon!