A Sand County Almanac & Other Writings on Ecology and Conservation
A Sand County Almanac, with fifty uncollected essays, articles, and other writings, as well as excerpts (many never before published) from his field journals.
“Of all the conservationists who have preceded us, Leopold was the most radical, the most complete, and therefore the most needed.”—Wendell Berry, foreword, Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work
E-book edition: Aldo Leopold: A Sand County Almanac & Other Writings on Ecology and Conservation is available for the Kindle, Kobo, Google Books, iBooks, and Nook.
“One of the penalties of an ecological education,” Aldo Leopold once wrote, “is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.” Since his death in 1948, fighting a grass fire on a neighbor’s farm, the world’s wounds—and our efforts to heal them—have become more broadly evident, and Leopold is now widely acknowledged as a writer and thinker well ahead of his time. Here for the first time, all the essential works of this pioneering forester, wildlife manager, ecologist, and environmental visionary are gathered in a single volume.
The collection opens with Leopold’s classic A Sand County Almanac (1949), a book often hailed—along with Thoreau’s Walden and Carson’s Silent Spring—as a foundational work of the modern environmental movement. Illustrated with Charles W. Schwartz’s original drawings, Leopold’s unpretentious, quietly lyrical prose records the turn of the seasons around the “Shack” he built with his family on an abandoned Wisconsin farm, and recounts a lifetime of experiences in wild places across North America. An unexcelled miniaturist, Leopold captures the essence of an entire landscape or ecological drama in carefully observed details. The tracks of a small mammal in the snow or the presence of a seemingly unremarkable flower on the side of a road provoke deep revelations in thought and attitude, awakening a faculty of insight he calls “the ecological conscience.” The book culminates with his revolutionary “land ethic”: a manifesto for bringing humanity into right relationship with the natural world that continues to influence and inspire.
A Sand County Almanac is joined here by over fifty uncollected articles, essays, speeches, and other writings that chart the evolution of Leopold’s ideas over the course of three decades. In early pieces, he explores the distinctive terrain and distinct ecological challenges of the Southwest, where he took his first job with the U.S. Forest Service, and where his efforts led to the first officially designated wilderness area in the United States. Later essays describe his attempts to bring farmers, conservation agents, and sportsmen together to protect native flora and fauna; his contributions to the emerging ecological sciences; and his changing ideas about predators and wildlife management.
As a special feature, the volume also presents a freshly prepared version of Leopold’s extraordinary field journals (some of which were first published in Round River), newly transcribed from the original manuscripts, expanded with unpublished texts, and accompanied by over a hundred of his original drawings, photographs, and maps. Written in camp during wilderness trips with family and friends, and at his celebrated “Shack,” the journals capture the enthusiasms of a lifelong outdoorsman. They vividly demonstrate what Leopold hoped to teach his students: “how to read land.” This volume also includes a selection of almost a hundred letters both personal and professional—all but a few published here for the first time.
A newly researched chronology and notes offer details about Leopold’s life, the conservation movement, and the contemporary contexts of his work. An “Index of Animals and Plants” supplements a general index.
Curt Meine, editor, serves as Senior Fellow for the Center for Humans & Nature and the Aldo Leopold Foundation. He is the author of the definitive biography Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work and Correction Lines: Essays on Land, Leopold, and Conservation. He lives in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin.
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