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Can you imagine finding out that the book your friend worked on for so long is going to be published, but then he has a heart attack the next week and never gets to see it in print? That was what happened to Aldo Leopold.

Read further for details.

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Aldo Leopold
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Leopold’s Early Life

With a name like Aldo Leopold, you are destined to be unique and memorable.

This Iowa native was born on January 11, 1887. He had three younger siblings. Instead of playing with toys like most children do, Aldo spent a lot of time observing his surroundings and drawing pictures of what he saw.

Leopold’s Education

Leopold attended East Coast Preparatory School. He continued his education at the Yale Forestry School and graduated in 1909.

This school, founded in 1900, is known as one of the nation’s top forestry schools. Today, the Yale Forestry School only offers Masters and Doctorate degrees.

Interesting Quotes

Aldo Leopold became interested in forestry (the science of conserving forests and natural resources) at a very young age and this interest continued into his adulthood.It may seem odd that a person would be so interested in the environment. Leopold was different from your typical Midwestern farmer of the early 1900s. His concern was with more than just the crops coming in or the animals being tended to properly, as many others during this time were.

Leopold understood that how we treat the land determined when, how, and how much of a crop there would be.Leopold had much to say on this topic. Here are some of Leopold’s famous forestry quotes, which reveal his interests in the environment and land conservation:’Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching- even when doing the wrong thing is legal.

”Conservation is getting nowhere because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. 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.”Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of the wolf.”We shall never achieve harmony with the land, anymore than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve but to strive.

‘Pretty serious, huh? You can tell by the way Leopold talks about the environment that it is very important to him to share this information with others.

Aldo Leopold in his element
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Leopold’s Forestry Career

What is the longest period of time you have ever worked at one job? Nowadays, many people switch careers every few years.

Aldo Leopold worked for the United States Forest Service from 1909 until 1928. That’s 19 years with the same employer! He spent most of his career working in Arizona and New Mexico, but he also worked in Wisconsin for a year.Aldo started out as an assistant forestry worker.

He was committed to doing research, measuring growth, and protecting the trees. Leopold even developed the first comprehensive management plan for the Grand Canyon, the oldest national park in the United States.He left the United States Forest Service in 1928 and began working independently.

He got paid to do wildlife surveys all over the United States. It’s great to get paid to do what you love.In 1933, Leopold began teaching agricultural (the growth of plants and animals) courses at the University of Wisconsin. When he found a job he liked, he certainly did keep it, just like he did with the United States Forest Service. Leopold taught for 15 years.

A Family Nature Experiment

In 1935, Leopold and his family did an interesting nature experiment. It was not your typical family gathering or yearly vacation.

They planted thousands of pine trees on a farm that could use some extra care. They restored the land area and wrote down the improvements that they noticed.

Leopold’s Books and Death

Not only was Leopold concerned about the environment, he also wrote interesting articles in magazines sharing what he knew about land and how to conserve it. He published the first textbook on wildlife management called Game Management in 1933.

He also began working on a collection of essays called A Sand County Almanac. This book was not written for farmers or agricultural students. It was written for the general public (regular folks like you and me), discussing the relationship between human beings and nature.

A Sand County Almanac talks about how human beings abuse land and how this can be changed. He gives lots of information on how we can converse land and natural resources. One of his quotes from this book is, ‘Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.’ When we work to conserve what we have, we become unified with the land.

That really gives you something to think about.In 1948, only a week after he found out that his book would be published, he had a heart attack. One of his neighbors had a grass fire, and it was spreading onto his property. He had the heart attack while he was fighting the flames. He died protecting the land he fought so hard to conserve.Over a year after his death, his second book was published and has sold over 2 million copies so far.

Lesson Summary

Aldo Leopold was a writer, professor, and wildlife conservationist from Iowa. He was born in 1887 and died in 1948 from a heart attack while fighting a neighbor’s grass fire. He published one textbook on wildlife during his life time. His other book, A Sand County Almanac, was published after his death and sold 2 million copies.

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