Walking through Leopold’s Vision

The headline above is from the blog Walking through Sonoma County . . . mostly; more about that in a minute.

I’ve always wanted to write about Aldo Leopold, as a genuine Wisconsin conservation hero, but have felt intimidated by the task. How do you write about someone whose legacy is a mile wide, and deep too, throughout America, not just Wisconsin? Someone whose already been the subject, surely, of hundreds of thousands of written words?

Aldo Leopold (Photo courtesy of the Aldo Leopold Foundation)

Aldo Leopold (Photo courtesy of the Aldo Leopold Foundation)

Then I discovered a “walking blog,” kept by California walker and blogger Lynn Millar, whose travels brought her to Wisconsin last summer for a couple of walks, one of them at the Aldo Leopold Foundation. So today I’m re-blogging her post about it. [That means this post you’re reading will transition into the beginning of Lynn’s post – “Walking Through Leopold’s Vision.” If you click on “view original post,” you’ll be transported directly to her blog, for the rest of it.]

But first, I’d like to share just a few highlights from Leopold’s deep, wide legacy to bolster the claims I’ve made above.

Learning about Leopold’s Legacy

In 1924 the Gila Wilderness in northern New Mexico became the first designated wilderness area on the planet. This happened, according to Wilderness.net, because of the vision and persistence of Leopold, then a relatively young man working for the U.S. Forest Service in the Southwest.

In 1935 The Wilderness Society was established, Aldo Leopold among the founders. By that time he was already working in Wisconsin, where in 1933 he had published the first textbook in the field of wildlife management. That same year, the University of Wisconsin had created the nation’s first chair in game management for its new teacher, Professor Aldo Leopold.

A California Walker Blogs about the Legacy

There’s a lot more, but that’s enough for now. Here’s a word about Lynn Millar’s blog.  Her title says it best:  she takes walks and writes about them. She makes the point that these are not ‘hikes,’ but short, flat ‘walks.’ Most of them are in Sonoma County; overwhelmingly they seem to be in California. I found some in Oregon, and this past summer she posted about walking in Chicago and southern Wisconsin.

If you’re a true walker, you’ll enjoy a look at this blog even if you never set foot on any of the particular paths described. Of course, if you’re in Wisconsin, wouldn’t you want to follow Lynn as she went — Walking Through Leopold’s Vision . . . ?        

 . . . . from Lynn Millar:

Walking in Sonoma County...mostly

On our way out of town and out of Wisconsin, we stopped at the Leopold Center in Baraboo. (Yes, that Leopold – to those of you who remember reading the Sand County Almanac back in the 70s.)

Leopold entrance

Aldo Leopold generated ideas in the 1920s-40s for what would become the environmental movement. While in Arizona and New Mexico working for the Forest Service in the 1920s, he began to think that man’s role is not just to dominate wildlife. (He has a wilderness area named after him in New Mexico – in the Gila National Forest)

In 1933, he accepted a professorship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. This professorship in wildlife was one of the first.

While living in Madison with his family and teaching, he purchased 80 acres of logged out and overgrazed farmland. He proceeded to put his ideas in practice and restored the property that was in sand country along…

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