Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 22, 2015: Erv's Field Notes #83

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Dear Friends:

Today I report on a different kind of field trip. I just returned from a conference at the Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin titled "Building the Land Ethic." Leopold wrote in his essay on the Land Ethic in A Sound County Almanac, "... nothing so important as an ethic is ever 'written' it evolves in the minds of a thinking community."

I had the privilege of presenting a short talk at the conference: "From Gravel Pit to City Park". My talk was an attempt at discussing how Ada Hayden Heritage Park came to be. I was honored that Leopold's daughter Estella was in the audience. I believe our park is a living expression of the land ethic in this community.

It has been 80 years since Aldo Leopold died fighting a brush fire near his farm on the Wisconsin River. His book was published the year after his death and has been re-printed in nine languages. Many of us who live in Ames are demonstrating our belief in the land ethic by working in a positive way to protect our environment. Consider the volunteers who help control invasive species and Wolf Oesterreich and Paul Damato who recently attempted to protect milkweeds for the Monarch butterfly. And yet, the larger community has not even heard of Aldo Leopold.

Erv Klaas

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