Already lit up by the wonders of nature as a boy, Jeffrey Kenkel’s first encounter with the words of Aldo Leopold affirmed for him that an ethical energy must surely course through it all.
“I read A Sand County Almanac in High School,” Jeff said. “That connected the dots of my love of nature, my childhood outdoors upbringing, interests in wildlife—hunting and fishing—to a land ethic. Aldo opened my mind to the connectivity of it all and I’ve been interested/passionate ever since.”
Jeff’s early 1970s Wauwatosa East High School biology teacher, the late David Tillotson, knew and was influenced by Aldo himself—which makes Kenkel a direct intellectual descendant of Aldo, in our opinion. Tillotson’s boyhood was surrounded by the land of Faville Grove, one of a handful of locales where Leopold famously persuaded area famers to take the first steps to create cooperative farm-based game preserves focused on habitat protection and proliferation. One of those farmers, Tillotson’s Grandpa Faville, was a friend of Aldo’s, and hosted him often at the Faville farm. The echoes of this influential relationship set a conservational tone in Kenkel years later, which continues today.
As recent inductees to the foundation’s Good Oak Society, our legacy giving heroes, Jeff and wife Beverly have always been deeply involved with land conservation, having executed much conservation work in the Washington County area over many years. Their profound, positive effect on the future of all things “natural, wild, and free” will continue now for countless years.
The couple lives in West Bend, WI, where they continue to share a lifelong love of the outdoors. Jeff is retired from a career in Civil Engineering. Bev grew up in the country near West Bend and Jeff grew up in Wauwatosa but spent his summers on Big Cedar Lake near West Bend. True to the legacy of Leopold, the Kenkels co-own and steward Jeff’s family’s retired family farm turned wildlife preserve in Washington County. They also care for their hunting land near Black River Falls and share their lives and outings with their German short-haired pointer, Maize.
We wish them good luck afield, and thank Jeff and Bev for their humbling generosity toward an unending land ethic in the wilds of today and tomorrow.