Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) had lasting impact on natural resource management and policy in the early to mid-twentieth century and his influence has continued to expand since his death. It was through his observation, experience, and reflection at his Wisconsin river farm that he honed the concepts of land health and a land ethic that have had ever-growing influence in the years since his death. He published more than five hundred articles and three books during the course of his geographically widespread career, but it was time at his shack and farm in Wisconsin that inspired most of the disarmingly simple essays in A Sand County Almanac that so many have found so thought-provoking.
The Aldo Leopold Foundation was founded in 1982 by Aldo Leopold’s children--Starker, Luna, Nina, Carl, and Estella. The Leopolds all became respected scientists and conservationists in their own right. They established the foundation primarily because they realized that the shack and farm would be a focal point for their father’s legacy for generations to come. A 501(c)(3) public charity, ALF owns and manages the Leopold Center, including the Leopold Shack and 264 surrounding acres in addition to several other parcels, and also manages much of the adjoining 1,800-acre Leopold Memorial Reserve established by neighboring landowners as an early land trust in 1967. It acts as the executor of Leopold’s literary estate, encourages scholarship on Leopold, and serves as a clearinghouse for information regarding Leopold, his work, and his ideas. It provides interpretive resources and tours for some 5,000 visitors annually, cooperates with partners on education and other off-site programming, and maintains a robust website and numerous print resources. The Aldo Leopold Foundation manages this Goodreads page.
Leopold’s life story, the development of his career as a conservationist, scientist, writer and philosopher, and his open-mindedness, his vision, and the evolution of his thinking throughout his life inspire others to start or further their own intellectual journey of discovery. A closer engagement with Leopold’s story, his writing, and the place that inspired him and his family helps people better to understand the contours of American environmental history and the role of nature in American culture, and to reflect on their own place in the complex weave of the way our society relates to land. Leopold’s vision of a society that cares about people, land, and the connections between them provides a starting point for thinking about modern-day cultures, economies, ecosystems, and communities.
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