Thursday, January 15, 2015

Conservation Biology Hero #1 Aldo Leopold

In honor of Aldo's birthday (Jan 11), and the fact that he was one of the most influential American thinkers in the conservation movement, I will make him my conservation hero #1. 

Aldo Leopold was born in Iowa January 11, 1887 and was trained at the Yale School of Forestry. The folks at Wilkes U. will find this interesting: one of the field trips at YSF was to Milford, PA where Gifford Pinchot's (Conservation Biology Hero #2) family had an estate with a large tract of forest. In Milford, Aldo learned field methods in forestry such as estimating board feet, tree identification, and forest management. After college, Aldo started out as a practicing wildlife biologist in the American southwest and went on to an academic position at the University of Wisconsin in 1924. 

His most important contributions were 

1. The first textbook on wildlife management

2. A series of essays there were published together in The Sand County Almanac. Some of these essays were just observations of nature around him - interpretations of observations. Other essays were expressions of his thoughts on the relation between humans and the land. These were and are highly influential. 

3. Chaired one of the first departments of Wildlife Management

4. Was an advocate for preserving roadless areas without any human development. Later, we would recognize these areas as wilderness. 

Recently, a soundscape was produced that includes the sounds that Leopold would have heard if one were at the sites where he visited to write A Sand County Almanac. And the video below gives a nice summary of Aldo Leopold's life 


Aldo Leopold Foundation

Go to Conservation Biology Hero #2 Michael Soule
Go to Conservation Biology Hero #3 Jane Lubchenco

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