People, Places, and Quotations of Green Fire
Green Fire introduces the viewer to many people, places, and projects that are a part of Aldo Leopold's living legacy today. In addition, the film utilizes Aldo Leopold's own words in many places to further communicate the evolution of his own thinking. Below is an extensive guide to accompany Green Fire, taking the viewer, in order of appearance, through the characters, places, and Leopold quotes included in the film. If you would prefer to explore just one of these categories, please check out:
- Leopold Quotations
- People Interviewed (in alphabetical order)
- Places Visited (in alphabetical order)
Guide to Green Fire
“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Foreword to A Sand County Almanac (1949), ASCA viii.
“I do not imply that this philosophy of land was always clear to me. It is rather the end result of a life journey.” Draft foreword to A Sand County Almanac (1947/1987), CSCA 282
Curt Meine, Aldo Leopold Biographer, Center for Humans and Nature
Curt Meine is director for conservation biology and history with the Center for Humans and Nature, senior fellow with the Aldo Leopold Foundation, research associate with the International Crane Foundation, and associate adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his bachelor’s degree in English and History from DePaul University in Chicago and his graduate degrees in Land Resources from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During his conservation career over the last twenty years, Meine has worked on projects involving topics ranging from biodiversity conservation planning, sustainable agriculture, and international development to crane and wetland conservation, prairie restoration, and development of community-based conservation programs. He has worked in Europe, Asia, and across North America in partnership with organizations including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Conservation Union, the World Wildlife Fund, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. He has served on the Board of Governors of the Society of Conservation Biology and on the editorial boards of the journals Conservation Biology and Environmental Ethics. His biography Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work, published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 1988, was the first full biography of Leopold and was named Book of the Year by the Forest History Society. He has edited The Essential Aldo Leopold: Quotations and Commentaries and Wallace Stegner and the Continental Vision. His most recent book is Correction Lines: Essays on Land, Leopold, and Conservation (Island Press). Meine is a recipient of the Bay Foundation’s Biodiversity Leadership Award and the Quivira Coalition’s Outstanding Conservation Leadership Award.
“All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants and animals, or collectively the land.” The Land Ethic (1949), ASCA 204
Leopold Family Shack, Baraboo, Wisconsin
Aldo Leopold found and leased an abandoned farm in Sauk County, Wisconsin, along the Wisconsin River in winter 1935, initially to use as a family base for bow-and-arrow deer hunting. The only building was a dilapidated chicken coop, the farmhouse on the hill having burned to the ground some years before. As the family started to fix up the place and began to become attached to it, he decided in May to buy about 60 acres. The family added a bunkhouse wing that summer, a stone fireplace the next summer, and a wood floor in 1939 to the building they variously called the shanty (after their name for an earlier family cabin on the Current River in Missouri), the Elums (after a row of elm trees), Das Jagdschloss (after places Leopold visited on his 1935 trip to Germany), and finally just the shack, by which they referred to the entire place, land as well as structures. They put in a vegetable garden and food patches for wildlife and began the long process of planting trees, shrubs, and prairie grasses, burning the prairie and mowing the marsh to restore the land to ecological integrity, all meticulously documented in more than 2000 pages of shack journals, plus phenological, bird banding, and other records. Over the years Leopold acquired more acreage by purchase and by accretion from channel changes in the Wisconsin River, so the property is now about 264 acres. Estella Leopold and her children and friends continued to visit and maintain the shack after Aldo's death in 1948. In 1965 the Leopold family land was buffered by an agreement among neighboring landowners to establish the Leopold Memorial Reserve, an early land trust that today contains approximately 2000 acres. Unlike other Leopold family homes, the shack remained in the family until it was transferred to the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, the Aldo Leopold Shack and Farm became a National Historic Landmark in 2009.
Nina Leopold Bradley, Ecologist and Daughter of Aldo Leopold
Nina Leopold Bradley, eldest daughter of Aldo Leopold, has undertaken ecological research throughout her life, established two family planning clinics (Columbia, Missouri and Bozeman, Montana), and currently lectures widely on Leopold and the land ethic. She and her late husband Charles directed research and ecological restoration at the Leopold Memorial Reserve from 1978 to the 1990s. Nina has had a lifelong interest in phenological observation and has continued to maintain her father's series of phenology records to the present. She is also an enthusiastic prairie restorationist and gardener. She received an honorary doctorate in environmental sciences from the University of Wisconsin in 1988 and has received many awards, including The Wilderness Society's Bob Marshall Award in 1995.
Rick Knight, Wildlife Ecologist and Leopold Scholar
Richard Knight works at the intersection of land use and land health in the American West. A professor of wildlife conservation at Colorado State University, he received his graduate degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin. While at Wisconsin he was an Aldo Leopold Fellow and conducted his research at Aldo Leopold's farm, living in the "Shack." Before becoming an academic he worked for the Washington Department of Game developing the nongame wildlife program. Presently, he sits on a number of boards including the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, the Quivira Coalition, the Science Board of the Malpai Borderlands Project, the Diablo Trust, Resources First Foundation, Ranchers Stewardship Alliance, and The Nature Conservancy’s Colorado Council. He is on the Board of Editors for both Conservation Biology and Ecological Applications. He was selected by the Ecological Society of America for the first cohort of Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellows, a program that focuses on leadership in the scientific community, communicating with the media, and interacting with the business and corporate sectors. In 2007 Colorado State University honored him with the Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award. He is a three-time recipient of the students’ choice for Outstanding Faculty Member in the Warner College of Natural Resources. In 2008 he was a recipient of the Colorado Book Award for an anthology.
J. Baird Callicott, Philosopher and Leopold Scholar
J. Baird Callicott is an American philosopher whose work has been at the forefront of the new field of environmental philosophy and ethics. He is University Distinguished Research Professor and a member of the Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies and the Institute of Applied Sciences at the University of North Texas. Callicott held the position of Professor of Philosophy and Natural Resources at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point from 1969 to 1995, where he taught the world’s first course in environmental ethics in 1971. He has authored or edited numerous books and articles related to Aldo Leopold, including Companion to a Sand County Almanac (1997) and In Defense of the Land Ethic (1989). He has served as President of the International Society for Environmental Ethics, and visiting professor of philosophy at Yale University, the University of California-Santa Barbara, the University of Hawai’i, and the University of Florida.
N. Scott Momaday, Author, Poet, and Painter
A Kiowa-Cherokee writer, N. Scott Momaday earned his BA at the University of New Mexico and an MA and PhD at Stanford University. His scholarly work on Emily Dickinson and Frederick Goddard Tuckerman as well as on Indian oral tradition and concepts of the sacred has resulted in his receiving numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the National Medal of Arts, the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, and the Premio Letterario Internationale Mondello, Italy’s highest literary award. Among his many books are House Made of Dawn (1967), The Man Made of Words (1997), and In the Bear's House (1999), illustrated with his watercolors.
Jane Lubchenco, Marine Ecologist and Educator
Jane Lubchenco, a marine ecologist and environmental scientist, is currently Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Her scientific expertise includes oceans, climate change, and interactions between the environment and human wellbeing. Raised in Denver, she received a BA in biology from Colorado College, an MS in zoology from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in ecology from Harvard University. While teaching at Harvard (1975-1977) and Oregon State University (1977-2009), she studied marine ecosystems around the world and championed the importance of science and its relevance to policymaking and human wellbeing. She has served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Council for Science, and the Ecological Society of America, and she served ten years on the National Science Board (the board of directors for the National Science Foundation).
“Man always kills the thing he loves. And so we the pioneers have killed our wilderness. Some say we had to. Be that as it may, I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in.” The Green Lagoons (1945), ASCA 148-149.
Starker-Leopold Family Home, Burlington, Iowa
Aldo Leopold's grandfather Charles Starker, a German-trained architect and landscape engineer, arrived in Burlington in 1850 and in 1870 purchased the Italianate house and three-acre lot on Prospect Hill overlooking the Mississippi River that would remain the seat of the Starker and Leopold families for more than a century. Starker developed a less formal, more naturalistic yard that became known in Burlington as "a bird's paradise." When Aldo was born in 1887, the first of five children of Carl Leopold and Starker's daughter Clara, the Leopold family lived in the big house with the Starkers. In 1893, with the arrival of two more children, they moved to a new house built for them by Starker in the pasture behind his home on the bluff. But with the deaths of both Starker and his wife in 1900, the big house passed to Clara and the Leopolds moved back in. The house and yard were the start of Aldo's many hunting and exploring excursions during his boyhood years, and during the remainder of his life he returned often to Burlington to visit his mother and sister in the big house and his brothers Carl and Frederic in their two homes in the family compound.
Steve Brower, Landscape Architect and Historian
As a registered landscape architect in private practice in Iowa, Steve Brower specializes in landscape planning, naturalistic designs, and recovery of natural habitats. Studies in landscape perception, emotional responses to environment, and environmental behaviorism have been the cornerstone for both his design and conservation work. As a youngster in Burlington, Steve grew up in the Leopold neighborhood and discovered the same landscapes that influenced Aldo sixty years earlier during his boyhood tramps. And by coincidence, he worked for the US Forest Service in his first professional jobs, studying many of the same issues that Leopold encountered, including the Gila Wilderness. His early Iowa conservation work involved developing a Corridor Trail Network for Iowa's Landscape. He is also a National Park Service-approved historian who has researched and written numerous reports, including the 1981 National Register of Historic Places Nomination for the Starker-Leopold compound overlooking the Mississippi River, and a photo essay and interpretation on "Aldo Leopold: Writing from his Burlington Roots."
Mighty Acorns, Chicago, Illinois
A program of Chicago Wilderness, a coalition of agencies and organizations working together to restore natural communities in the Chicago region, Mighty Acorns incorporates classroom curriculum, hands-on restoration activities and exploration as it seeks to provide children with multiple, meaningful, sustained interactions with the land. Students use the land as an outdoor laboratory for learning science and, at the same time, the ecosystems benefit from their restoration work.
Kirk Anne Taylor, Urban Conservationist
Kirk Anne Taylor joined The Field Museum’s Environmental and Conservation Programs department in 2004. As the Urban Conservation Manager, she oversees the development and expansion of the Calumet Environmental Education Program (CEEP), coordinates teacher trainings, and supports student action projects that help to conserve the biodiversity of the Calumet region.
University of the Air Radio, Hosts Norman Gilliland and Emily Auerbach
Norman Gilliland began hosting classical music broadcasts in the mid-1970s and, with few exceptions, has been on the air each weekday since 1977. In addition to co-producing University of the Air, he hosts Wisconsin Public Radio's popular "Old-Time Radio Night" and produces the biographical modules Grace Notes, which are broadcast each weekday morning at 11:30 on the NPR News and Classical Music network of WPR. Emily Auerbach is a Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a joint appointment in the English Department and the Department of Liberal Studies & the Arts (Outreach). She has received teaching excellence awards from University Outreach, UW-Madison, and the UW System; an arts award from the UW-Madison; and national awards for several of her projects.
Sylvia Hood Washington, Environmental Historian and Author
Sylvia Hood Washington is an interdisciplinary-trained scholar in systems engineering (MS), history of science, technology and the environment (Ph.D.), epidemiology (MS), and natural health/medicine (ND). Involved in the environmental field for over 25 years, her ongoing research efforts have been deeply influenced by her experiences as a corporate and government environmental engineer, an environmental activist, and a professor developing and teaching environmentally focused science, technology and society courses for non-science students. Washington was the originator and national project director for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Knights of Peter Claver, Inc. Environmental Justice and Health Project, which utilized the oral history of environmental justice struggles among black Catholics in Chicago and the input of physicians, engineers and theologians to develop relevant environmental literacy educational material that would promote environmental justice among marginalized urban communities. Among her books is Packing Them In: Archaeology of Environmental Racism in Chicago (2005), and she edits the on-line journal, Environmental Justice.
Gary Meffe, Conservation Biologist and Author
Gary Meffe earned his PhD in Zoology from Arizona State University in 1983 and held the Archie Carr Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Florida. He worked at the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory and has done extensive research on conservation biology, evolutionary and community ecology, and fish ecology. Meffe's general research interests include conservation biology, ecosystem management, aquatic ecology, and evolutionary biology. He has authored more than 70 scientific papers and chapters and has written or edited four books, including the widely acclaimed Principles of Conservation Biology. Dr. Meffe also has consulted extensively with numerous federal agencies on the application of conservation biology and ecosystem management principles to natural resource management. He has served in an editorial capacity with Copeia and Environmental Ethics, was Deputy Editor of Oryx, for which he writes a regular editorial column, "Savannah Perspective," and has been a member of Conservation Biology's board of editors since its first volume.
Peter Forbes, Farmer and Community Conservationist
Peter Forbes is a writer, public speaker, photographer, farmer and conservationist. He has worked throughout the world as a witness and storyteller of the bond between people and the land, and to translate what he has learned into a new form of leadership. He is recognized across North America for building bridges between sectors, coalitions and organizations and for nurturing a new land movement integrating land health, social justice, and human spirit. After eighteen years leading conservation projects for the Trust for Public Land, he co-founded the Center for Whole Communities. He also helped to protect threatened portions of Thoreau's Walden Woods, launched a program to protect and revitalize urban gardens and farms across New England, and created the Good Life Center in Harborside, Maine, to promote the life ways of renowned land and social activists Helen and Scott Nearing. Through the success of more than one hundred conservation projects, he earned a national reputation as being a champion of a new brand of community-based conservation where the health of the people and the health of the land are viewed as equal. When he is not teaching and speaking at conferences around the country, he lives and farms with his wife and two daughters in the Mad River Valley of Vermont.
Dave Foreman, Wilderness Advocate and Author
After eight years with the Wilderness Society as Southwest regional representative in New Mexico and as director of wilderness affairs in Washington, DC, Dave Foreman became disillusioned with the "professionalism" of the environmental movement and began to shape a new, non-bureaucratic movement known as "Earth First!" to advocate for wilderness and defense of the Earth. He edited the Earth First! Journal during the 1980s and published Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching (1985). He co-founded the Wildlands Project (1991), the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (1997), and then the Rewilding Institute (2003), dedicated to development of ideas and strategies to advance continental-scale conservation and protect biodiversity.
“Perhaps no one but a hunter can understand how intense an affection a boy can feel for a piece of marsh…. I came home one Christmas to find that land promoters, with the help of the Corps of Engineers had dyked and drained my boyhood hunting grounds on the Mississippi river bottoms…. My hometown thought the community enriched by this change. I thought it impoverished.” Draft forward (1947), CSCA 282
“For one species to mourn the death of another is a new thing under the sun.” On a Monument to the Pigeon (1947), ASCA 110
Yale Forest School, New Haven, Connecticut
In 1900, two Yale College graduates who had been obliged to go to Europe to study forestry established the first professional forestry school in the United States at Yale University. Gifford Pinchot and Henry S. Graves pioneered forest management in this country and then went on to become the first and second chiefs of the U.S. Forest Service. Aldo Leopold was in the class of 1909, one of the early classes to graduate with masters of forestry degrees, and he and many of his classmates would join the Forest Service and rise to leadership positions. As the Yale Forest School grew, its faculty members expanded their research and teaching to incorporate not only forestry but also broader environmental issues. To reflect this evolution, the school changed its name in 1972 to the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
U.S. Forest Service
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. As a young forester, Aldo Leopold was shaped by his career with the Forest Service. In turn, his pioneering ideas about the protection and restoration of wilderness, watersheds and wildlife have greatly influenced the stewardship of public and private lands around the world as well as the very concept of health in the current mission statement of the Forest Service. The Forest Service was established in 1905 as an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today it manages 193 million acres, conducts forest research, assists other forest landowners, and helps formulate international forest policy.
Apache National Forest, Springerville, Arizona, 1909-1911
After his graduation from Yale in 1909, Aldo Leopold boarded a westbound train that would take him to his first job: forest assistant on the newly formed Apache National Forest in east central Arizona Territory. Following a brief orientation at the District 3 headquarters in Albuquerque, he took the train to Holbrook, Arizona, from which he rode by stagecoach on a bumpy, two-day trip to Springerville, at the foot of Escudilla Mountain. Fresh out of college on the East Coast, Leopold was green in the ways of the West and its expansive landscapes. After only a week of training, he was assigned to lead a reconnaissance crew in the Blue Range of the Apache. It was a difficult mission for him: his egotism and inexperience earned him the disrespect of several of his crew, his report contained errors, and he was later brought under investigation for mismanagement. It was determined that, although the mission had been inefficiently conducted, his behavior did not merit dismissal. He was given another chance in his second summer on the job and, learning from his mistakes, proved himself to be both a capable forester and a natural leader. His two years on the Apache were especially significant for an event that occurred during the first month of the reconnaissance, the encounter with wolves that he would so vividly describe 35 years later in "Thinking Like a Mountain," and for his encounter with the vexing problem of soil erosion on Southwestern watersheds that would lead eventually to his concepts of land health and a land ethic. The forest is today known as the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.
“Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of a wolf…. My own conviction on this score dates from the day I saw a wolf die. We were eating lunch on the high rim rock, at the foot of which a turbulent river elbowed its way. We saw what we thought was a doe fording the torrent, her breast awash in white water. When she climbed the bank toward us, and shook out her tail, we realized our error. It was a wolf.” Thinking Like a Mountain (1949), ASCA 129-30
Carson National Forest, Tres Piedras, New Mexico, 1911-1913
Leopold was transferred to the Carson National Forest in northern New Mexico in June 1911 and became supervisor, his life's ambition, less than a year later at age 25—the first of his Yale class to reach that rank. The Carson was a problematic forest with Native American and Hispanic as well as Anglo interests, competition between cattle and sheep grazers, and a troubled history of management. Leopold and then-supervisor Harry C. Hall decided in 1911 to move the headquarters from Antonito, Colorado to the tiny Hispanic village of Tres Piedras, New Mexico, in the middle of the forest, where Leopold designed and built a house for his new wife-to-be, whom he married in October1912. But "Mia Casita" would be their home for only six months before Aldo, while on a rugged horseback trip to settle a range dispute between cattle and sheepmen, contracted acute nephritis, a serious kidney condition. He nearly died before getting to Santa Fe for medical attention, and would have to spend some 18 months recuperating, first in Santa Fe and then back home in Burlington, Iowa.
Ben Romero, District Ranger
After a long career with the U.S. Forest Service, Ben Romero recently retired as district ranger on the Tres Piedras District of the Carson National Forest (the forest headquarters having been moved years earlier to Taos), where he had to balance the diverse interests of Hispanics, Native Americans, cattle and sheep ranchers, hunters, tourists and other groups. He became interested in restoring the house Leopold had built in Tres Piedras in 1912 for his new wife Estella and applied for funding through a program established to commemorate the 2005 centennial of the U.S. Forest Service. When his proposal was ranked number one in the nation for centennial funding, he oversaw volunteers and specialists from all over the country who came to work on the project.
Bill McDonald, Rancher and Conservationist
Arizona rancher Bill McDonald is co-founder and executive director of the Malpai Borderlands Group, a coalition of ranchers and scientists dedicated to “boundaryless” land stewardship. Bill is a fifth-generation rancher on his family's 100+ year-old ranch. He has held leadership positions in local and statewide cattle growers' associations in Arizona and spent twenty-five years as a supervisor of a Natural Resource Conservation District. His awards include Arizona Association of Conservation Districts' Outstanding Supervisor, Arizona Game and Fish Commission's Outstanding Wildlife Habitat Steward, and a MacArthur Fellowship. The Malpai Borderlands Group is organized and led by ranchers who live and work primarily in Southeast Arizona and Southwest New Mexico. It is a collaborative effort that is built around goals shared by neighbors within the community. The group originated as a series of informal discussions among ranching neighbors who recognized that a way of life and a wild landscape that they all loved was being threatened by the spread of development and subdivision from nearby towns. Formally established as a non-profit organization in 1994, the group has pursued activities in several program areas directed at protecting and restoring the ecological diversity and productivity of land.
Sid Goodloe, Rancher and Conservationist /Carrizo Valley Ranch
For more than a half century Sid Goodloe and his family have owned and operated the Carrizo Valley Ranch near Capitan, New Mexico (near where Smokey Bear, the U.S. Forest Service's symbol of fire prevention, was found and is memorialized in a museum). With a BS in animal science and an MS in range science from Texas A&M University, he has long been engaged in efforts to understand and rehabilitate his watersheds and grasslands using controlled burning, rotational grazing, and other techniques, including concepts and methods pioneered by Aldo Leopold and more recently Allan Savory. In recent decades he has also served as an international livestock consultant in Australia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Brazil and other countries. He was honored in 1995 by the National Cattlemen's Association with its Environmental Stewardship Award, in 1999 by the New Mexico Watershed Coalition with its Watershed Steward Award, and in 2003 with the Clarence Burch Award of the Quivira Coalition.
Susan Flader, Environmental Historian and Leopold Scholar
Susan Flader, professor emerita at the University of Missouri-Columbia, has taught U.S. Western and environmental history, world environmental history, and the history of Missouri. In addition to numerous articles she has authored or edited eight books, among them The Sand Country of Aldo Leopold (1973), Thinking Like a Mountain: Aldo Leopold and the Evolution of an Ecological Attitude Toward Deer, Wolves, and Forests (1974, 1994), The Great Lakes Forest: An Environmental and Social History (1983); The River of the Mother of God and Other Essays by Aldo Leopold (1991); and Toward Sustainability for Missouri Forests (2004). She has served as president of the American Society for Environmental History, chair of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, and on many other professional and environmental boards, and she has won numerous national and state awards for scholarship and conservation.
“Our job is to sharpen our tools and make them cut the right way… [T]he sole measure of our success is the effect which they have on the forest." To the Forest Officers of the Carson (1913), RMG 43
“There are two things that interest me: the relation of people to each other, and the relation of people to land.” Wherefore Wildlife Ecology?(unpublished manuscripts), AL 51
Estella Bergere, whom Aldo married in 1912, was born in 1890, the fifth of twelve children of Eloisa Luna, whose first husband, Manuel Basilio Otero, had been killed in 1883 in a range dispute on family sheep lands in the Estancia Valley by Anglo cattleman James Whitney of Massachusetts. The Oteros, who traced their lineage in New Spain to 1786, claimed title to more than a million acres along the Rio Grande where they grazed their sheep. Upon the death of her husband, Eloisa with her two infants, Eduardo and Nina Otero, and pregnant with a third child, Manuel Otero, moved back to the family seat of the Luna family, the Luna mansion in Los Lunas, twenty miles south of Albuquerque. The Lunas traced their lineage in New Spain back to various ancestors who accompanied the explorers Cortes, Coronado, Onate, and Vargas beginning in 1530, but the first 110,000 acres of their New Mexico sheep lands came by way of a grant to dona Ana de Sandoval y Manzanares that was later acquired by don Domingo de Luna, a cousin of the Duke of Albuquerque. About a year after moving to the Luna Mansion, Eloisa met an English traveling salesman, Alfred Maurice Bergere, whom she married in 1886. Estella, the second born of that marriage, thus had three Otero half-siblings and eight Bergere siblings. The family continued to live in Los Lunas until 1897 when they moved to Santa Fe (at the time of the inauguration of Miguel Antonio Otero, Eloisa's cousin, as territorial governor), eventually settling in 1901 in what would become the Bergere family seat at 135 Grant Avenue, a former officer's quarters for the Fort Marcy Military Reservation. Estella would live there until she married Aldo in 1912, and she and her children would visit her sisters there regularly until she died during a visit to Santa Fe in 1975.
“My dear Estella. This night is so wonderful that it almost hurts…. I would like to be out in our canyon … and see the wild Clematis in the moonlight—wouldn’t you?” Letter to Estella Bergere, 8 July 1911 LP
“I personally believed, at least in 1914 when predator control began, that there could not be too much horned game, and that the extirpation of predators was a reasonable price to pay for better big game hunting.” review of The Wolves of North America, LP: Species and Subjects: History of American game management 912
“In those days we had never heard of passing up the chance to kill a wolf. In a second we were pumping lead into the pack, but with more excitement than accuracy. When our rifles were empty the old wolf was down and a pup was dragging a leg into impassable slide rocks.” Thinking Like a Mountain (1944), ASCA 130
“Wilderness is the one kind of playground which mankind cannot build to order…. I contrived to get the Gila headwaters withdrawn as a wilderness area, to be kept as pack country, free from additional roads, 'forever.'” Draft foreword (1947), CSCA 284
Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness Areas, Gila National Forest,
Silver City, New Mexico
Leopold’s work and travel in national forests of the Southwest led him to advance the idea of wilderness preservation. The nation was reaching a point, he argued, where running out of wildlands, previously unimaginable, was becoming possible. In a 1921 article asserting America’s need for wilderness, he offered his criteria for wilderness areas – “a continuous stretch of country preserved in its natural state, open to lawful hunting and fishing, big enough to absorb a two weeks’ pack trip, and devoid of roads, artificial trails, cottages, or other works of man” – and offered as his example of a place that would meet these requirements the headwaters of the Gila River. The Gila’s natural communities remained relatively intact and encircled by barrier mountains, there had been only light grazing pressure, and he thought setting it aside would not create undue economic loss. In 1922 he submitted an official proposal to his Forest Service colleagues to manage a large portion of the Gila National Forest as a wilderness area. His proposal was accepted in 1924 and the Gila Wilderness became the nation’s first such federally designated area, the prototype for what would eventually become a system of wilderness areas. The Gila, regrettably, was breached by a road in 1931 in order to facilitate hunter access to an overpopulated deer herd, leading to elimination of the central core of the area from wilderness status and separate administration for the Gila Wilderness to the west and the barrier range to the east, designated the Black Range Primitive Area. After passage of the National Wilderness Preservation Act of 1964, the primitive area of 220,000 acres was eventually, in 1980, designated by Congress as the Aldo Leopold Wilderness.
James Woodworth Prairie Preserve, Glenview, Illinois
The James Woodworth Prairie is 5 acres (2 hectares) of original tallgrass prairie located along Milwaukee Avenue in Glenview, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. Over 140 plant species characteristic of mesic, black-soil Illinois prairie are found on this small site, and many rare prairie invertebrates also successfully persist. A ten-acre remnant of unplowed virgin prairie was protected by its farm owners and studied by scientists at least since 1926, but after it was sold to a real estate developer in 1953 and whittled to only half its size by a housing development, go-cart track, and miniature gold course, concerned citizens mounted a determined campaign during the 1960s to save what remained. They eventually raised enough private money to match a grant to the new University of Illinois at Chicago Circle from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, and the prairie in 1968 became the first and only natural area owned by UIC. A building holds both interpretive exhibits and space for research. The prairie is actively managed, and studies ranging from spatial dynamics and population size of particular species to the impacts of atmospheric nitrogen deposition on plant communities have been conducted there. As a remnant of the prairie that once covered much of Illinois, Woodworth serves the community by providing an opportunity to experience prairie plants and animals that are now rare, and it served as an inspiration to the Chicago Wilderness coalition of organizations committed to restoring prairie ecosystems in the greater Chicago area.
Michael Howard, Urban Conservationist and Educator
In 1997, community member, founder, and executive director of Fuller Park Community Development Michael Howard was concerned about serious lead poisoning problems affecting the neighborhood children. He did some research and discovered that Fuller Park contained the highest lead levels in the city of Chicago. As a community leader he wanted to make some serious changes for the sake of his family and his entire neighborhood, and he decided that this work would start with the illegal dumpsite located across the street from his home. Two-story mounds of waste encompassed the entire three acres of land. Howard acquired the deed for the land and involved the community in a three-year clean-up of the dumpsite. With the help of many volunteers, over 200 tons of trash was removed from the site. Those were the trying first days of what is now called Eden Place. In May 2004, Eden Place was honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Chicago Wilderness with the Conservation and Native Landscaping Award for their creative use of natural landscaping to support native plants and animals that contribute to the region’s biodiversity. That same month, Eden Place was filmed for a PBS documentary called "Edens Lost & Found," which profiles activists and organizations in Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Chicago who are attempting to “improve the quality of life and public health by encouraging community and civic engagement through the restoration of their urban ecosystems."
Eden Place, Chicago, Illinois
Eden Place has worked to raise awareness among community members about the environmental problems that have affected their families for years. Children are making connections with nature like never before, and residents are feeling a renewed sense of community pride. But more than 3/5 of the local area is comprised of abandoned lots where homes and various industries once thrived, and Fuller Park residents still carry the burden of one of the highest local lead levels in the city, so the work continues.
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” Good Oak, ASCA 6
Madison Farmers’ Market, Madison, Wisconsin
The Saturday Farmers' Market is one of the most unique events in Madison, Wisconsin. The market takes place on Saturday from 6:30 am to 2 pm around the Capitol Square, which was redesigned some years ago to eliminate lanes of traffic and increase the width of sidewalks in part to better accommodate the market and other events. Nearly 200 area farmers sell home-grown produce, but the market is more than just produce! Live music, coffee and fellowship draw the Madison community to the square.
Dave Cieslewicz, Mayor, Madison, Wisconsin
Dave Cieslewicz (chess-LEV-ich) was first elected Mayor of Madison in April 2003 and re-elected in 2007. Promoting Madison's environmental activism, Cieslewicz was one of the first mayors in America to sign on to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement to reduce Madison's greenhouse gas emissions. He diesel-electric buses, and created a new position in city government focused solely on sustainability issues. Under his leadership, Madison was one of the first cities in the nation to adopt "The Natural Step" program to enhance the sustainability of city operations and facilities. Before becoming mayor, Cieslewicz was the co-founder and first executive director of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, a non-profit research and advocacy organization focusing on land use and transportation. Before that he was director of government relations for The Nature Conservancy, which followed his service as chief of staff in a state senate office and work for the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. Born in 1959 and raised in West Allis, Wisconsin, he is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, Wisconsin
Aldo Leopold left the Southwest in 1924 to accept an appointment as associate director of the Forest Products Laboratory, at that time the principal research arm of the U.S. Forest Service. The laboratory was established in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1910 under a cooperative agreement with the University of Wisconsin for space and equipment. It was dedicated to research into the physical properties of wood, and it led over the years in developing new forest products, new uses for wood wastes, chemical treatments to extend the durability of construction woods, strength testing of woods for airplanes and construction, and new pulping techniques for paper. Leopold had anticipated becoming director within a few years and probably hoped to take the laboratory into directions more related to the growing of trees, but the current director decided to stay (for two more decades). Leopold, who had become somewhat uncomfortable with the industrial emphasis of the laboratory and increasingly interested in wildlife, left the laboratory and the Forest Service in 1928 to conduct game surveys with funding from the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute.
Leopold Home, Madison, Wisconsin
When Aldo Leopold moved to Madison, Wisconsin from Albuquerque in 1924, he purchased a modest two-story stucco home for his family at 2222 Van Hise Avenue near West High School, which all his children attended, and within walking distance of the Forest Products Laboratory and, later, his office at the University of Wisconsin. Like all his homes, the house had a back yard with a family garden. His widow Estella continued to live there until her death in 1975, after which it was sold. Today it is an official landmark of the city of Madison.
“The destruction of soil is the most fundamental kind of economic loss which the human race can suffer.” Erosion and Prosperity (1921), EAL 76
“Coon Valley… is one of the thousand farm communities which, through the abuse of its originally rich soil, has not only filled the national dinner pail, but has created the Mississippi flood problem… and the problem of its own future continuity.” Coon Valley: An Adventure in Cooperative Conservation (1935), RMG 220
Coon Valley, Wisconsin
Coon Valley is located near La Crosse, Wisconsin, in the scenic Driftless Area, an area largely missed by Ice Age glaciers. Rather than being ground down by mountains of ice, the land retained a more rugged character, with rock outcrops, steep ridges, and winding valleys. In 1933, Aldo Leopold and several of his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin developed a comprehensive plan to restore the heavily eroded land in a cooperative effort involving more than 400 hundred local farm families, hundreds of young men in the Civilian Conservation Corps, and experts in agriculture, soil erosion, forestry, wildlife, and engineering. Hugh Hammond Bennett, director of the Soil Erosion Service (later the Soil Conservation Service and then the Natural Resources Conservation Service) designated Coon Valley the nation’s first watershed conservation project. Among those employed by the project were the eldest Leopold children, Starker and Luna, who began to put their college studies to practice.
Paul Johnson, Farmer and Conservationist
Paul Johnson and his family have owned and operated Oneota Slopes Farm near Dekorah, Iowa since 1975. With a BS and MS in forestry from the University of Michigan, he served in the Peace Corps and later taught forestry in Ghana, and did research in Costa Rica and other countries. He served three terms in the Iowa State Legislature, during which he co-authored the 1987 Groundwater Protection Act, which led to establishment of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. He served as chief of the U.S. Soil Conservation Service (now the Natural Resources Conservation Service) from 1993-1997 and then as director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. He has received numerous national and state awards, including the prestigious Hugh Hammond Bennett Conservation Award from the Soil and Water Conservation Society of America.
"Conservation will ultimately boil down to rewarding the private landowner who conserves the public interest.” Conservation Economics (1934), RMG 202
University of Wisconsin Arboretum, Madison, Wisconsin
Though they may not have anticipated it when the University of Wisconsin Arboretum was founded in 1934, the foresight of Aldo Leopold and other members of the Arboretum Committee resulted in the institution’s continuing status as a pioneer in the restoration and management of ecological communities. In focusing on the re-establishment of southern Wisconsin's historic landscapes, particularly those that predated large-scale human settlement, they introduced a whole new concept in ecology: ecological restoration—the process of returning an ecosystem or landscape to a more natural condition. Most of the Arboretum’s current holdings came from purchases made by Madison civic leaders during the Great Depression. Leopold served as director of animal research at the arboretum. Between 1935 and 1941, crews from the Civilian Conservation Corps were stationed there and provided most of the labor needed to begin the process of restoration. These efforts have continued over the years, with the result that the Arboretum’s restored ecosystems are not only the oldest but also the most extensive such collection.
Joy Zedler, Restoration Ecologist and Educator
As the Aldo Leopold Professor of Restoration Ecology at the University of Wisconsin, Joy Zedler facilitates research at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum and encourages students and others to study the arboretum's collection of restored and restorable communities. Her students address issues of importance to the restoration of wetlands within the arboretum, in Wisconsin, the Upper Midwest region, and beyond. For example, they conduct experiments in stormwater basins in the Chicago area and explore changes in lakeshore wetlands along Lake Michigan, while testing theory about community structure and ecosystem functioning. Experiments at the arboretum are helping to explain why reed canary grass and cattails are increasingly dominant in both stormwater wetlands and lakeshore wetlands.
“The time has come for science to busy itself with the earth itself. The first step is to reconstruct a sample of what we had to start with. That in a nutshell is the Arboretum.” The Arboretum and the University (1934), RMG 211
“If the land mechanism as a whole is good then every part is good, whether we understand it or not...To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.” Conservation (1938), RR 145-146
“On this sand farm in Wisconsin, first worn out and then abandoned by our bigger and better society, we try to rebuild, with shovel and axe, what we are losing elsewhere. It is here that we seek—and still find—our meat from God.” Foreword to A Sand County Almanac (1949), ASCA viii
Carl Leopold (December 18, 1919—November 18, 2009), Botanist and Son of Aldo Leopold
Carl Leopold worked as a plant physiologist in basic and applied research at Purdue University and at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Cornell. He authored two landmark books, Auxins and Plant Growth (1955,1960), which made him the unofficial ambassador of basic research for scientists working in applied aspects of horticulture and agronomy, and the textbook, Plant Growth and Development (1964,1975). He also wrote extensively about the scientific process and the relationship of science and ethics. He served as a senior policy analyst on the staff of the Science Adviser to the President during the Ford Administration, provided testimony before the United States Congress, and served as a consultant to the National Science Foundation Division of Policy Research and Analysis. In retirement he became involved in restoration of tropical forest ecosystems in Costa Rica. He received the Gold Medal of the Royal Galician Academy of Science in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and in 2009 was honored as a fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists.
Estella Leopold, Aldo's Wife (archival audio)
Estella Bergere of the Luna-Otero family in New Mexico married Aldo Leopold in 1912 and became his lifelong partner, nurturing his esthetic sense and participating fully in the family's outdoor activities. Together they had five children—Starker, Luna, Nina, Carl, and Estella—all of whom became noted scientists and conservationists. Three won election to the National Academy of Sciences, an unprecedented honor for a group of siblings. A musician, she taught her children her family's Spanish songs, and they each became accomplished guitarists. When Aldo became interested in archery and the handcrafting of bows and arrows, Estella became an expert archer and was Wisconsin women's champion five years in a row. She was devastated by her husband's death, but continued to nurture her children and grandchildren and to visit the Shack with family and friends until her death in 1975. The audio recordings used in the film were made by high school student Jim Voegeli in the early 1970s.
Estella Leopold Jr., Ecologist and Daughter of Aldo Leopold
Estella Leopold, youngest daughter of Aldo Leopold, is Professor Emerita of Botany and past director of the Quaternary Research Center at the University of Washington. Before that she had a distinguished career as a research paleobotanist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver. A specialist in fossil pollen and spores of the Cenozoic era, her research interests extend to plant biogeography and climate change over the last 65 million years. Her scientific and conservation interests led her to leadership roles in the establishment of two national monuments, Florissant Fossil Beds in Colorado and Mount St. Helens in Seattle, as well as involvement in numerous national, state and local conservation organizations. Elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1974, she was honored in 2010 in Osaka, Japan with the International Cosmos Prize for her life work in science and conservation.
“Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free.” Foreword to A Sand County Almanac (1949), ASCA vii
George Archibald, Crane Conservationist and Biologist
Award-winning conservation icon and co-founder of the International Crane Foundation, George Archibald has revolutionized the preservation of rare crane species and their wetland habitats worldwide. Archibald not only discovered white-naped cranes on their wintering grounds but he also led a successful campaign to save the Han River estuary, a critical wintering and migratory area located in the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas. In fact, his efforts have led to the conservation of more than 5 million hectares of wetlands in Asia, mostly in China and Russia. Archibald also helped to implement conservation-education programs among local people in remote regions of Africa, Australia and Eurasia. During his career, Archibald has studied the ecology of eight species of cranes in Australia, Bhutan, China, Iran, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States, and has organized more than 900 researchers working with cranes in more than 60 nations. He is known globally as the world's leading scientific authority on cranes, and he has received numerous awards and honors worldwide. The United Nations placed him on the Global 500 Roll of Honor for Environmental Achievement, and he was inducted into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame in 2006.
“When we hear his call we hear no mere bird. We hear the trumpet in the orchestra of evolution. He is the symbol of our untamable past, of that incredible sweep of millennia which underlies and conditions the daily affairs of birds and men.” Marshland Elegy (1937), ASCA 96
The International Crane Foundation, Baraboo, Wisconsin
The International Crane Foundation (ICF), headquartered in Baraboo, Wisconsin, works worldwide to conserve cranes and the wetland and grassland ecosystems on which they depend. ICF is dedicated to providing experience, knowledge, and inspiration to involve people in resolving threats to these ecosystems throughout the world. ICF's focus on cranes provides an opportunity to address a series of issues not tied to a particular place: endangered species management, wetland ecology, habitat restoration, and the critical need for international cooperation. Its programs stress the interdependence between wildlife, their habitats, and people. ICF believes that cranes can serve as a symbol inspiring people from many nations to trust each other and to work together to conserve these magnificent birds.
“We Americans, in most states at least, have not yet experienced a bear-less, eagle-less, cat- less, wolf-less woods. Germany strove for maximum yields of both timber and game and got neither.” Notes on Wild Life Conservation in Germany (1935) LP: Writings: Reprints (bound): Publications of Aldo Leopold: game 735
Jed Meunier, Ecologist and Great-grandson of Aldo Leopold
Jed Meunier grew up along the banks of the Wisconsin River near his great-grandfather's shack and spent many days afield with his Missouri grandfather Bill Elder, a wildlife ecologist, and his grandmother Nina Leopold Bradley and her husband Charles, co-directors of research and restoration on the Leopold Memorial Reserve. He earned an M.S. in wildlife ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying the effects of hunting on declining American woodcock populations. He was the first-ever masters student to receive the Donald H. Rusch Memorial Game Bird Research Scholarship from The Wildlife Society and was also awarded the Terry Amundson Memorial Scholarship from the Ruffed Grouse Society. His current research as a Ph.D. candidate at Colorado State University seeks to understand the history and ecology of fire in northern Mexico to guide restoration efforts and forest management in northern Mexico and the American Southwest.
Rio Gavilan, Northern Sierra Madre, Chihuahua, Mexico
Leopold made two bow and arrow hunting trips with friends and relatives to the Rio Gavilan in the Sierra Madre of northern Chihuahua, Mexico, the first in fall 1936 and the second over New Year's in 1937-38. He was immensely taken with the country, especially in contrast to the "sick" soils, impoverished biota, and artificial management he had encountered in Germany and even in contrast with national forests and wilderness lands just north of the Mexico border, such as the Gila, which he now realized were also, in a way, impoverished and sick. The Gavilan watershed still retained the virgin stability of its soils and the integrity of its flora and fauna; the river ran clear between mossy banks, natural wild fires passed repeatedly over the land without doing damage, and deer thrived in the midst of their natural enemies, wolves and mountain lions. It was as a result of these trips to the Gavilan that the concept of land health, toward which he had been groping for years, suddenly crystallized for him and became for him the goal of a land ethic.
“It was here that I first clearly realized that land is an organism, that all my life I had seen only sick land, whereas here was a biota still in perfect aboriginal health. The term 'unspoiled wilderness' took on a new meaning.” Draft foreword to A Sand County Almanac (1947), CSCA 285-86
“Land health is the capacity for self-renewal in the soils, waters, plants, and animals that collectively comprise the land.” Conservation: In Whole or in Part? (1944), RMG 318
The Wilderness Society is the leading American conservation organization working to protect the nation’s wilderness and other public wildlands. Since its founding in 1935 by Aldo Leopold and other early wilderness advocates, the Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect as designated wilderness nearly 110 million acres in 44 states, from rich hardwood forests in the east, stunning deserts in the southwest, and snowcapped peaks in the Rockies to old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest and tundra in Alaska. It led the struggle for the revolutionary 1964 Wilderness Act, which gave force of law to the system of wilderness areas previously designated administratively by the U.S. Forest Service and established a process for adding new Congressionally-designated areas under several different federal jurisdictions to the national wilderness preservation system, and it has been the chief advocate of subsequent wilderness bills and other preservation efforts since that time.
“To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.” Conservation Esthetic (1938), ASCA 176
“What more delightful avocation than to take a piece of land and by cautious experimentation to prove how it works. What more substantial service to conservation than to practice it on one's own land?” LP: Writings: Unpublished Manuscripts – AL’s Desk File: Wildlife and game management, technical [files] 1928-1948 856
“Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets, but humbler folk may circumvent this restriction if they know how. To plant a pine, for example, one need be neither god nor poet; one need only own a good shovel.” Pines Above the Snow (1943), ASCA 81
Stan Temple, Wildlife Ecologist and Leopold Scholar
Stan Temple retired in 2007 from a distinguished 32-year academic career in ecology and conservation and now continues his life work as senior fellow and science advisor with the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Among his more than 300 publications are major contributions to conservation biology and endangered species management. He has worked in 28 different countries and with some of the world's most endangered species. The first Beers Bascom Professor in Conservation at the University of Wisconsin, in the chair once occupied by Aldo Leopold, he received the highest honors from the Society for Conservation Biology (which he helped found) and the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology; he is a fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union, the Explorer's Club, the New York Zoological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. At Wisconsin he held faculty appointmens in Forest and Wildlife Ecology, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and the Environmental Toxicology Center, and he won every teaching award for which he was eligible. He led in creating the degree program in "Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development" and served as its chair. He was also president of the Society for Conservation Biology, secretary of the International Council for Bird Preservation, and chair of the Wisconsin Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and served on numerous editorial boards including Bird Conservation (which he founded). His 75 graduate students have assumed positions of leadership in conservation worldwide.
Eduardo Santana-Castellon, Conservation Biologist and Educator
Eduardo Santana Castellón has been research professor at the Manantlán Institute of Ecology and Conservation of Biodiversity in the Central University of the South Coast, University de Guadalajara, since 1985. He received a Ph.D. in Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Santana Castellón conducts research and teaches wildlife ecology and management of protected natural areas and participated in the creation of the Biosphere Reserve and Sierra de Manantlán Intercity Environment Board for the Comprehensive Management of the Lower Ayuquila River. He has received honors for his work in conservation, including national recognition in Nature Conservation, the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas, the Biodiversity Conservation Award from the Bay and Paul Foundations, and Prince Bernhard Scholarship of the World Wildlife Fund, among others.
Leslie Weldon, Wildlife Biologist and Regional Forester
Leslie Weldon began her U.S. Forest Service career as a summer hire on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington fighting fire and surveying wildlife. Since then she held biologist positions on that forest, at national headquarters, and in the Northern Regional Office. She also served as district ranger on the Bitterroot National Forest, as liaison to the US Army and as executive policy assistant to former Forest Service Chief Michael Dombeck. Weldon was forest supervisor on the Deschutes National Forest from 2000 - 2007. Weldon holds a BS in Biological Sciences from Virginia Tech. She and her husband Michael Weldon have twin sons who attend Oregon State University.
Bill McKibben, Writer and Environmental Activist
Bill McKibben is an environmentalist and writer who frequently writes about global warming and alternative energy and advocates for more localized economies. In 2010 the Boston Globe called him "probably the nation's leading environmentalist" and Time magazine described him as "the world's best green journalist.” Bill has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000. He has honorary degrees from Green Mountain College, Unity College, Lebanon Valley College and Sterling College. Bill currently resides with his wife, writer Sue Halpern, and his daughter Sophie, in Ripton, Vermont. He is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College.
“Our tools are better than we are, and grow better faster than we do. They suffice to crack the atom, to command the tides, but they do not suffice for the oldest task in human history, to live on a piece of land without spoiling it.” Engineering and Conservation (1938), RMG 254
Dave Parsons, Wildlife Biologist
After 21 years as a research biologist with the National Park Service and National Biological Survey at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, David Parsons transferred to the U.S. Forest Service in 1994 to become director of the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute. Throughout his career he has coordinated development and oversight of interdisciplinary research teams to address topics such as the fire ecology of mixed conifer forests, recreation impacts in wilderness, and potential impacts of acidic deposition and climatic change on forest ecosystems and served in various roles as editor, reviewer and team member for professional societies and federal agencies. He has over 125 publications on topics related to plant and fire ecology and wilderness, park & protected area management. Most notably, he served as the first Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during reintroduction of wolves to the Apache National Forest beginning in 1998. He is now a wildlife biologist with the Rewilding Institute, which focuses on wildlife and wilderness protection.
“Conservation, without a keen realization of its vital conflicts, fails to rate as authentic human drama. It falls to the level of a mere utopian dream.” review of Our Natural Resources and Their Conservation (1937) LP: Writings: Reprints (bound): Publication of Aldo Leopold: forestry, wilderness areas and miscellaneous 164
Don Hoffman, Wilderness Manager
Don Hoffman served for 27 years with the U.S. Forest Service as recreation and wilderness program manager for the Alpine Ranger District of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. His first Forest Service assignment was on a fire crew in the upper Black River watershed of the Apache in summer 1976, when he first read Leopold's A Sand County Almanac borrowed from another crew member. He took early retirement from the Forest Service to serve for five years as executive director of the Arizona Wilderness Coalition and is now president of the organization. With his intimate knowledge of the Apache National Forest, Don helped Leopold scholars Susan Flader and Curt Meine in 2009 to identify the probable site of the wolf encounter Leopold described in "Thinking Like a Mountain."
“We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then and have known ever since that there was something new to me in those eyes, something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.” Thinking Like a Mountain, ASCA 130
“Examine each question in terms of what is ethically and esthetically right, as well as what is economically expedient. A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” The Land Ethic, ASCA 224-25
Buddy Huffaker, Ecologist and Conservationist
As executive director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, Buddy Huffaker has directed the foundation’s growth from an operational budget of $100,000 in 1999 to over $1,000,000 today, and increased the staff capacity over that time from 1.5 FTE to 12 FTE. He headed a $7.5 million campaign to construct and endow the Leopold Center, headquarters for the foundation and a visitor center and meeting space designed to advance thinking and discussion about conservation ethics in our society. In 2007 the facility won LEED-certification from the U.S. Green Building Council as the highest-rated building in the world and the first ever to be certified carbon neutral. Buddy has been recognized as an Executive Scholar in Not‐for‐Profit Management by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, has participated in the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation, and represented the Northeast Region at the US Forest Service’s Centennial Congress. He serves as a leading voice for the role of ethics in the relationships between humans and nature and has addressed audiences across North America on why and how society must develop an ecological conscience.
Jack Ward Thomas, Wildlife Biologist and Educator
A wildlife research biologist who focused on conservation during a career that spanned more than thirty years, Jack Ward Thomas specialized in wild turkeys, elk, and deer before he became embroiled in controversial political issues in the Pacific Northwest. During the 1980s and early 1990s, his work conserving old growth ecosystems and spotted owl habitat culminated in the "spotted owl wars" and related controversies. President Bill Clinton appointed Thomas to lead the development of the Northwest Forest Plan and later persuaded him to take charge of the U.S. Forest Service. In spite of opposition from environmental groups, the timber industry, and old-guard agency personnel, Thomas was appointed the Forest Service's thirteenth chief in 1993. When he retired in December 1996, he accepted a position at the University of Montana as professor of wildlife conservation, a position endowed by the Boone and Crockett Club, one of the nation's oldest conservation organizations. He coordinated research on the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch and taught graduate students in natural resources policy, claiming he found "pontification much easier than responsibility." He retired from that position in late 2005 but remained active in conservation, writing, giving presentations, and consulting. Visit Jack's website.
Sergei Smirenski, Wildlife Ecologist and Conservationist
Founder and director of Muraviovka Park of Sustainable Land Use in far eastern Russia, Sergei Smirenski dreamed of finding a place in which people and wildlife could live together in harmony and at the same time test new technologies and ideas for ecosystem protection, environmental education, and sustain-able land use. He is a highly regarded ornithologist from Moscow State University, and has traveled the world giving presentations on the wonder of cranes and the importance of creating sustainable habitats for their survival. He has studied the problems of taxonomy, behavior and ecology of birds and has a special interest in studying the current status of bird populations, especially of rare and endangered species. Since 1970, he has participated in and led over 60 research expeditions to the Russian Far East and East Siberia and over 25 trips to the Central Asian states of the former Soviet Union, Mongolia, China, Japan, South Korea, and India, and is the author of over 50 scientific publications.
Carl Safina, Marine Conservationist and Author
Carl Safina is a prominent ecologist and marine conservationist and president of Blue Ocean Institute, an organization dedicated to inspiring among humans a closer relationship with the sea and helping more people realize its power and beauty. The institute is designed to inspire, rather than demand, conservation by using science, art and literature to build a “sea ethic” and a greater appreciation for the oceans and their inhabitants. A winner of the prestigious Pew, MacArthur, and Guggenheim fellowships, Safina has written five books—Song for the Blue Ocean: Encounters Along the World’s Coasts and Beneath the Seas; Eye of the Albatross: Visions of Hope and Survival; Voyage of the Turtle: In Pursuit of the Earth’s Last Dinosaur; Nina Delmar: The Great Whale Rescue; and The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World.
Lodi Reads Leopold, Lodi, Wisconsin
On March 4, 2000, the citizens of Lodi, a small town in south central Wisconsin, congregated to read A Sand County Almanac aloud, cover to cover. The Friends of Scenic Lodi Valley, who organized the event, dubbed the gathering “Lodi Reads Leopold.” Reading started at noon and ended at 10 that night. The session spanned two locations, involved 35 readers and was so inspiring that they decided it should be an annual experience. During the 4th annual "Lodi Reads Leopold," George Meyer, former Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and a “celebrity reader” wondered aloud why every community in the state wasn’t reading Leopold that weekend. State legislator Mark Miller shouted from the audience, “I’ll introduce that legislation.” That spark caught on, burning bright with bi-partisan support to recognize Wisconsin’s most noted conservationist. One year later, in March 2004, Governor James Doyle signed legislation designating the first weekend in March Aldo Leopold Weekend across Wisconsin. Today, reading events have expanded throughout Wisconsin and beyond to communities in other states, and blossomed to include a wide range of activities. The celebration is now being replicated in communities across the nation.
"Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins as in art with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language. The quality of cranes lies, I think, in this higher gamut, as yet beyond the reach of words." Marshland Elegy (1937), ASCA 96
“I have purposely presented the land ethic as a product of social evolution because nothing so important as an ethic is ever 'written'… It evolves in the minds of a thinking community.” The Land Ethic (1949), ASCA 225
Leopold Archives, http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/AldoLeopold Cited as LP.