It's [January 11] the birthday of the writer and environmentalist Aldo Leopold, born on this day in 1887 in Burlington, Iowa. Aldo grew up in a big family, lived on a 300-acre estate with a lot of his relatives. The whole family spoke German together and worked in the gardens and orchards on their property, where he learned about plants and soil.
After he graduated from Yale, he went to work for the U.S. Forest Service, which had been created just a few years earlier by Theodore Roosevelt. He worked on surveying and drawing maps. After 19 years in the Forest Service, he became the Professor of Game Management at the University of Wisconsin. He bought a piece of land on the Wisconsin River, and there he wrote many of the essays for which he is now famous.
He was collecting his essays into a book. But at the age of 60, helping to fight a grass fire, he suddenly lay down and died of a heart attack. His children put the book together, and in 1949 A Sand County Almanac was published. It's still considered one of the most important texts of the conservation movement.
Aldo Leopold said, "There can be no doubt that a society rooted in the soil is more stable than one rooted in pavements."
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