1886 - 1948
- A pioneering scientist in the fields of forestry, soil conservation, wildlife management, and wilderness preservation. Best known for his still-influential book A Sand County Almanac. He was a co-founder of The Wilderness Society.
- Aldo Leopold's "land ethic" has been conceived as a turning point in conservation philosophy. He wrote, "we abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong,we may begin to use it with love and respect... A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise."
- According to Leopold biographer Curt Meine, the tension between the utilitarian and preservationist views existed within Leopold: he held both a Muir-like appreciation of nature, but also a Pinchot-like intent to use nature wisely.
- Leopold copied down a quote from Muir that was to pre-sage Leopold's eventually-adopted view that all wildlife - even predators like wolves, bears, and snakes - had value: "Poor creatures, loved only by their Maker, they are timid and bashful, as mountaineers know; and though perhaps not possessed of much of that charity that suffers long and is kind, seldom, either by mistake or by mishap, do harm to any one.... Again and again, in season and out of season, the question comes up, "What are rattlesnakes good for?" As if anything that does not obviously make the benefit of man had any right to exist; as if our ways were God's ways."
- In A Sand County Almanac, Leopold mentions John Muir's Wisconsin experiences, and, like Muir, decries the loss of the now-extinct Passenger Pigeon.
- As a university professor, Leopold recommended Muir's The Story of My Boyhood and Youth due to its evocative descriptions of frontier Wisconsin. Noting that the Muir farm has become depleted floristically and otherwise, he nonetheless suggested that Muir's frontier farm of his boyhood be made a state park. Today, much of Muir's boyhood home at Fountain Lake is a county park, an and a national historic landmark, and effort's are being made to restore the biological diversity of the original homestead.
- Leopold was an original thinker helping to take conservation to new heights. He is sometimes considered part of a conservation triumvirate coming out of Wisconsin, humorously expressed: "In the beginning there was John Muir, who begat Aldo Leopold, who begat Gaylord Nelson, who begat Earth Day."
- To learn more about Aldo Leopold, see:
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