“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
~ Sunrise~ Camping near Burn Cabin Flat, Gila Wilderness of NM in 2011
Considering the countless hours of bliss that I have spent in the heavens and hills of the Gila Wilderness, I am eternally grateful for the vision and work of Aldo Leopold. ~Reb
Excerpts, Aldo Leopold Foundation – “Considered by many as the father of wildlife management and of the United States’ wilderness system, Aldo Leopold was a conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast.
Born in 1887 and raised in Burlington, Iowa, Aldo Leopold developed an interest in the natural world at an early age, spending hours observing, journaling, and sketching his surroundings. Graduating from the Yale Forest School in 1909, he eagerly pursued a career with the newly established U.S. Forest Service in Arizona and New Mexico. By the age of 24, he had been promoted to the post of Supervisor for the Carson National Forest in New Mexico. In 1922, he was instrumental in developing the proposal to manage the Gila National Forest as a wilderness area, which became the first such official designation in 1924.”
“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
“Leopold was a meticulous and disciplined generator and retainer of important correspondence, memorandum, reports, and related materials. He published more than 500 articles, essays and reports and his papers contain at least 500 more unpublished essays, reports, and memorandum of significance. He also kept detailed diaries and journals of his Forest Service activity, his travels, hunting and field experience, and observations and activities at his Sand County farm. He maintained active correspondence (both outgoing and incoming) with more than a hundred professional and conservation organizations, with his many graduate students, and with hundreds of leaders in a range of scholarly disciplines, professional fields, government agencies, and conservation organizations. His papers reflect the most advanced thinking and most innovative practice across virtually the entire spectrum of natural resource conservation, policy and management in the first half of the twentieth century.
The Aldo Leopold Foundation and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives received a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to begin digitizing the entire collection in 2007. The Leopold Archives is now publicly available free of charge for viewing.”
“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
“The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.”- Aldo Leopold
ALF - “Central to Leopold’s philosophy is the assertion to “quit thinking about decent land use as solely an economic problem.” While recognizing the influence economics have on decisions, Leopold understood that ultimately, our economic well being could not be separated from the well being of our environment. Therefore, he believed it was critical that people have a close personal connection to the land.”
“A land ethic, then, reflects the existence of an ecological conscience, and this in turn reflects a conviction of individual responsibility for the health of land.”
“There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot.” - Aldo Leopold
ALF- “While Aldo Leopold was writing in the 1940s he could not have imagined the far-reaching impact his book would have. Over two million copies have been printed and it has been translated into twelve languages.
Long respected in his own fields of forestry and wildlife management, Aldo Leopold was a prolific writer for scientific journals and conservation magazines. However, in 1937, sometime after his fifty-third birthday, Leopold became increasingly focused on reaching the general public with his conservation message. Working over a twelve-year period, Leopold wrote, re-wrote, and re-wrote again, essays that both informed people of how the natural world worked, and inspired people to take action to ensure the future health of the land and water that sustains all life.
Lead by Luna Leopold, Aldo’s son, a group of Leopold’s family and colleagues collaborated on the final editing of the book, reluctantly agreeing to one significant change; renaming the book from Leopold’s working title “Great Possessions” to A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There.
Through science, history, humor, and prose, Leopold utilizes A Sand County Almanac and its call for a Land Ethic to communicate the true connection between people and the natural world, with the hope that the readers will begin to treat the land with the love and respect it deserves.”
Jan 9, 2013 - Conservationists, authors, scientists, activists, and scholars from around the world discuss the meaning and importance of Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic for the future of all the cultures of this planet.