“When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” – Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
Monday, January 11th marks Aldo Leopold’s birthday – one of the most significant and early leaders in the wilderness movement. Leopold is best known for the development of his land use ethic highlighted in his book, A Sand County Almanac. Leopold was also a co-founder of The Wilderness Society and instrumental in the designation of America’s, and perhaps the Earth’s, first wilderness area – the Gila Wilderness in southern New Mexico.
Born in 1887, Leopold first discovered a passion for the natural world while exploring Iowa’s bluffs, rivers, and woods. Upon graduating from the newly established Yale School of Forestry, Leopold begin a career with the United States Forest Service in Arizona and New Mexico. The creation of the Grand Canyon’s initial comprehensive management plan was among his greatest accomplishments with the USFS.
The second half of Leopold’s career took place in Wisconsin where he was appointed Professor of Game Management in the Agricultural Economics Department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the first such professorship of wildlife management. It was in this role that Leopold developed his land use ethic that would forever change the course of environmental thought.
Leopold’s legacy can be found throughout today’s conservation efforts, whether through management plans, academic discourse, or the effort to secure permanent protection for our public lands through the Wilderness Act.
One of the best ways to honor the life of Aldo Leopold is by signing the petition to safeguard Colorado’s Continental Divide for future generations to enjoy.