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A Sand County Almanac: An Invitation to Join the Thinking Community

Below is an introduction written in 2021 by Aldo Leopold Foundation Executive Director Buddy Huffaker for Siniša Golub’s Croatian translation of A Sand County Almanac. Buddy visited Croatia for the first time earlier this year to celebrate the recent publication of A Sand County Almanac and to honor the upcoming 75th Anniversary of Leopold’s classic.

Don’t miss the lovely closing video of Siniša and Buddy exploring land ethics in Croatia and hear bits of the Almanac in the native tongue!

Buddy Huffaker

By picking up this slim book of nature observations and philosophical musings that has now been translated into 15 languages you join a community of people all around the world working to extend ethical consideration and care to the plants, animals, air, and waters all around us.

If you read to the end, you will find that the author, Aldo Leopold, has been awaiting your reading and arrival since it was first published in 1949 as he outlines this vision of a “land ethic” while clarifying that “nothing as important as an ethic is ever ‘written,’” rather he states it “evolves in the minds of a thinking community.”

And the world needs you and this “thinking community” now more than ever, which is why this translation by Siniša Golub is timely as we try to rise to the challenge of the climate crises that threatens to engulf us all.

Buddy and his wife, Marcy visited the Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve in Croatia earlier this year.

Buddy and his wife, Marcy visited the Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve in Croatia earlier this year.

Though Aldo Leopold could not have predicted climate change his call to maintain and restore the health of our own homelands and waters not only would have prevented this crises if previously embraced and implemented, but nevertheless continues to serve as a key ingredient for the mitigation and adaptation now required.

It is this shared bond of caring for and about special places that brought me to know Siniša and the work of his family to care for Međimurska Park when he visited the Aldo Leopold Center years ago.  I’ve been fortunate to meet visitors from all over the world coming to experience the place where Aldo Leopold and his family planted pines trees and prairies which in turn inspired the writing of ASCA.  Many are brought to tears when they see the humble ‘Shack’ that served as the base camp for the Leopold family’s efforts, but few have arrived with as much passion and commitment to learn about, implement, and share Leopold’s “land ethic” as Siniša.

Over time and after several visits, and travels with Siniša he has come to be not only a colleague but a true friend.  We exchange experiences and insights about how to improve our respective environmental education programs, how to improve our land stewardship efforts, how to reach new audiences, and at times we share the moments of hope and despair we experience when taking on the responsibility of advancing social change.

Croatia, Spring 2023

Croatia, Spring 2023

I was to visit Croatia for my first time in the spring of 2020 to see for myself Međimurska and Croatian conservation when COVID-19 layered an urgent health crises on top of the climate crises. It was going to be an opportunity for us to collaborate further on the translation and look to the future. Despite the setback, Siniša worked on translating this book believing it could further inform and inspire fellow Croats by better connecting your good work with the global conservation movement.

As I attempted to answer Siniša’s questions via email and messenger regarding certain passages and phrases I read ASCA once again, only this time through the eyes of a friend and colleague that speaks another language and lives half a world away.  The process and exchange helped me come to appreciate even more the timeless and universal aspect of Leopold’s “land ethic.”

Just as the book connected Siniša and myself, the lasting legacy of Leopold’s ASCA is its ability to create a connection with, and among, so many of its readers. That is why I write this introduction yearning of my chance to one day visit Croatia, to listen and learn further from Siniša, to see Croatian conservation first hand, and to meet you all as fellow “thinking community” colleagues connected by this shared commitment to build an ethic of care.

Yours in conservation,

Buddy Huffaker,
Executive Director
Aldo Leopold Foundation

It’s been almost 75 years since Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac was first published, and it’s undeniable that the Land Ethic is alive and growing around the globe! Watch as Buddy Huffaker and Siniša Golub discuss the parallels between the Leopold-Pines Conservation Area and the Mura-Drava-Danube Biosphere Reserve in Croatia earlier this year.

Read more about the Croatian translation of A Sand County Almanac

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