Aldo Leopold

Closeup of Grey Wolf

“We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes.  I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that  because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.”

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“Everybody knows that the autumn landscape in the northwoods is the land, plus a red maple, plus a ruffed grouse. In terms of conventional physics, the grouse represents only a millionth of either mass or the energy of an acre. Yet, subtract the grouse and the whole thing is dead”.

“I cannot explain why a red rivulet is not a brook. Neither can I, by logical deduction, prove that a thicket without the potential roar of a covey of quail is only a thorny place. Yet every outdoorsman knows that this is true. That wildlife is merely something to shoot at or to look at is the grossest of fallacies. It often represents the difference between rich country and mere land”.

“The woodcock is a living refutation of the theory that the utility of a game bird is to serve as a target, or to pose gracefully on a slice of toast…Since learning of the sky dance, I find myself calling one or two birds enough. I must be sure that, come April, there will be no dearth of dancers in the sunset sky…”.

From A Sand County Almanac, 1949


Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

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This biography of Aldo Leopold follows him from his childhood as a precocious naturalist to his profoundly influential role in the development of conservation and modern environmentalism in the United States. This edition includes a new preface by author Curt Meine and an appreciation by acclaimed Kentucky writer and farmer Wendell Berry.

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First published in 1949 and praised in The New York Times Book Review as “a trenchant book, full of vigor and bite,” A Sand County Almanac combines some of the finest nature writing since Thoreau with an outspoken and highly ethical regard for America’s relationship to the land.

Written with an unparalleled understanding of the ways of nature, the book includes a section on the monthly changes of the Wisconsin countryside; another part that gathers informal pieces written by Leopold over a forty-year period as he traveled through the woodlands of Wisconsin, Iowa, Arizona, Sonora, Oregon, Manitoba, and elsewhere; and a final section in which Leopold addresses the philosophical issues involved in wildlife conservation. As the forerunner of such important books as Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire, and Robert Finch’s The Primal Place, this classic work remains as relevant today as it was forty years ago.

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