Living a Land Ethic: A History of Cooperative Conservation on the Leopold Memorial Reserve (Wisconsin Land and Life) (Paperback)

Living a Land Ethic: A History of Cooperative Conservation on the Leopold Memorial Reserve (Wisconsin Land and Life) By Stephen A. Laubach, Stanley A. Temple (Foreword by), Stephen Laubach, Stanley Temple (Foreword by) Cover Image

Living a Land Ethic: A History of Cooperative Conservation on the Leopold Memorial Reserve (Wisconsin Land and Life) (Paperback)


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In 1935, in the midst of relentless drought, Aldo Leopold purchased an abandoned farm along the Wisconsin River near Baraboo, Wisconsin. An old chicken coop, later to become famous as the Leopold "Shack," was the property's only intact structure. The Leopold family embraced this spent farm as a new kind of laboratory—a place to experiment on restoring health to an ailing piece of land. Here, Leopold found inspiration for writing A Sand County Almanac, his influential book of essays on conservation and ethics.

Living a Land Ethic chronicles the formation of the 1,600-acre reserve surrounding the Shack. When the Leopold Memorial Reserve was founded in 1967, five neighboring families signed an innovative agreement to jointly care for their properties in ways that honored Aldo Leopold's legacy. In the ensuing years, the Reserve's Coleman and Leopold families formed the Sand County Foundation and the Aldo Leopold Foundation. These organizations have been the primary stewards of the Reserve, carrying on a tradition of ecological restoration and cooperative conservation. Author Stephen A. Laubach draws from the archives of both foundations, including articles of incorporation, correspondence, photos, managers' notes, and interviews to share with readers the Reserve's untold history and its important place in the American conservation movement.
Stephen A. Laubach teaches science and environmental studies at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey and directs the school's Big Red Farm. His teaching and community outreach are inspired by Aldo Leopold's writings on conservation and ethics. He has a PhD in environmental studies and science education.
Product Details ISBN: 9780299298746
ISBN-10: 0299298744
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication Date: July 24th, 2014
Pages: 154
Language: English
Series: Wisconsin Land and Life
"Two generations after Aldo Leopold's passing, his legacy lives on through his readers, his family, and his students, and through the policies he promoted, the organizations he shaped, and the ideas he fostered. But it lives on most tangibly in the many places he worked to conserve. And of these, no place was so intimately essential to his life and thought as the Leopold Shack and the surrounding Leopold Memorial Reserve. In Living a Land Ethic, Steve Laubach explores the many-layered natural and cultural history of the Leopold Reserve, and recounts the innovative efforts to protect and steward its diverse landscape. He shows us that the land ethic continues to evolve in the very place where Leopold conceived it. The land endures, and the story continues." —Curt Meine author of Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work

"A significant and important story about how a small group of landowners, inspired by Aldo Leopold, pioneered private conservation and ecological restoration. Laubach offers an insightful reflection on what it means to live the 'land ethic' that is quite relevant to today's growing conservation challenges. Anyone who cares about conservation and nature will learn valuable lessons in the story of these dedicated individuals working together in common purpose." —Tia Nelson

“A compelling case study of the challenges and rewards in creating a sustainable landscape. One imagines it is the type of book Aldo Leopold would have written himself had he lived for another decade.”—Mark Madison, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

“Laubach crafts a history of the reserve that surrounds a place that lives in the imagination of millions of people. Living a Land Ethic will appeal to those interested in whatever became of the mysterious land that inhabited Leopold’s beloved work [A Sand County Almanac]. It is an engagingly written account of collaboration between private landowners to preserve land in a fashion inspired by the ideas of Aldo Leopold. Highly recommended; all academic and public library collections.”—Choice