Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Aldo Leopold

Aldo Leopold was an American ecologist, forester, and environmentalist. He was influential in the development of modern environmental ethics and in the movement for wilderness preservation. Leopold is considered to be the father of wildlife management in the United States and was a life-long fisherman and hunter.

Aldo Leopold was born in Burlington, Iowa. He grew up in contact with the outdoors. During his youth, Leopold's family spent summers in Michigan's Les Cheneaux Islands where an Aldo Leopold Preserve on Marquette Island commemorates his love for the outdoors. Leopold attended the prestigious Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, after which he moved on to the Yale University School of Forestry. He received his Master's degree in Forestry in 1909. Leopold developed an appreciation for nature in terms of ecology, beauty and mystery, as well as a source of resources. Thereafter, his professional life encompassed forestry, ecology and writing.

Leopold served for 18 years in the United States Forest Service, working in the American Southwest (New Mexico and Arizona) until he was transferred in 1924 to the Forest Products Lab in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1928 he left the Forest Service and started doing independent contract work. He mostly did wildlife and game surveys throughout the U.S.

In 1933 he was appointed Professor of Game Management in the Agricultural Economics Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He lived in a modest two-story home close to the campus with his wife and children, and he taught at the university until his death. Leopold died in 1948 from a heart attack while fighting a brush fire on a neighbor's farm.