If you’re a hunter today possessing any kind of ethical standards that include living by the credo “leave it better than you found it,” then you’ve heard of the name Aldo Leopold—and if you haven’t heard the name, it’s because you’ve been living under a rock he undoubtedly sat on as he pondered where to plant a few hundred trees. Regardless the extent of your knowledge regarding the man, better known as “The Father of Wildlife Management,” suffice it to say that, some 60-plus years after his death, his legacy of physical habitat work and prolific writings, including the Sand County Almanac, have made him an icon among conservationists (the group most of us hunters fall into) and preservationists alike.
Raised in Iowa before becoming Yale educated, Leopold’s career spanned a tenure with the infant U.S. Forest Service, the accolade of becoming first chair in game management at the University of Wisconsin, and eventually the posthumously published A Sand County Almanac. (A more thorough read of this abbreviated biography the biography I presented is available at www.aldoleopold.org.) Today, Leopold’s passion for seeking balance between humanity and our surroundings lives on in the Aldo Leopold Foundation.
I’m on the e-mailing list for the Foundation’s newsletter, and yesterday’s missive contained a listing of dates for screenings of Green Fire. According to the “About the Film” tab on the Foundation’s website:
Green Fire describes the formation of Leopold’s idea, exploring how it changed one man and later permeated through all arenas of conservation. The film draws on Leopold’s life and experiences to provide context and validity, then explores the deep impact of his thinking on conservation projects around the world today. Through these examples, the film challenges viewers to contemplate their own relationship with the land community.
Now, this film is undoubtedly fascinating to anyone with a passing interest in keeping our hunting lands balanced and fulfilling, but I also thought it would be a nice addition to the many Hunter Safety classes going on this time of year, as well as for older 4-H and Boy Scout shooting groups and other shooting and hunting clubs—after all, you can talk about conservation and best use practices and hope to keep your audience awake, or you can show them a man, a thinking-man’s man, who can bring the subject to life and spark that same passion in the next generation.