About Green Fire


The impact of his gunshot from a rim rock in Arizona started a shift in Aldo Leopold’s thinking, one that would lead him to the insight that culminated his life’s work: the need for an ethical relationship between people and nature.

The documentary film Green Fire traces Leopold’s personal journey and follows the threads that connect to his legacy today.

“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.”
Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, 1949

The Green Fire Project

Green Fire was produced through a partnership between the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the Center for Humans and Nature, and the U.S. Forest Service. The film examines Leopold’s idea of a land ethic and its relevance to a population facing 21st century ecological challenges. His biographer, conservation biologist Curt Meine, serves as the film’s onscreen guide.

aldo-leopold-rim-rockThe film describes the formation and evolution of Leopold’s idea, exploring how it changed one man and later permeated all arenas of conservation. By presenting examples of the deep impact of his thinking on current conservation projects around the world, the film challenges viewers to contemplate their own relationship with the natural world.

Green Fire uses photographs, correspondence, and other documents from the voluminous Leopold Archives, along with historical and contemporary film footage of important Leopold landscapes. Also featured is commentary from many influential conservation leaders, including three of Leopold’s children – Nina, Carl, and Estella – and renowned scholars, environmental writers, scientists, policy makers, and business and non-profit leaders.

Film Team

Onscreen guide: Curt Meine

Editors: Steve Dunsky and Ann Dunsky

Co-directors: David Steinke and Steve Dunsky

Writer: Stephen Most

Screenings and Awards

Since its premiere in 2011, Green Fire has been shown at thousands of community screenings around the country and the world, and it continues to be shown today. Learn how to host your own screening or check our events calendar to find a screening near you.

Awards garnered by the film include:

  • Emmy Award, Best Historical Documentary, Chicago/Midwest Chapter, 2012
  • Telly Award, 2011
  • CINE Golden Eagle Award
  • Best Film: Story and Production, Waimea Ocean Festival, Waimea, HI
  • Best Cinematography, Duke City DocFest, Albuquerque, NM
  • Archie Carr Award, Cinema Verde Environmental Film Festival, Gainesville, FL
  • Finalist, Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, Banff, AB, Canada
  • Special Jury Award, Vision/Voices Environmental Film Festival, St. Petersburg, FL

Many people and organizations generously supported the making of Green Fire, including:

Kohler Trust for Preservation • Susan L. Flader • Ruth DeYoung Kohler • USDA Forest Service • National Fish & Wildlife Foundation • Nina L. Bradley Estate • RDK Foundation • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service • Estella B. Leopold • The Boldt Company