Why I did a Science Cafe – a guest post by Lisa Schulte Moore
Dec12

Why I did a Science Cafe – a guest post by Lisa Schulte Moore

“Being a native of Wisconsin – land of beer, brats, and polkas – I’ve always dreamed of delivering a science presentation with a drink in my hand.” — Lisa Schulte Moore writes about her new adventures in public outreach at the Science Cafe, and as a fellow in the Leopold Leadership program.

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Spreading Green fire one community at a time

By Nadine Lymn, ESA Director of Public Affairs Directly following a recent showing of the new film Green fire about Aldo Leopold, a woman in the audience confessed that she had “never heard of the man,” in spite of being an active member of several environmental organizations that Leopold had either helped establish or heavily influenced. That’s just one of the reasons Stanley Temple is spending much of his time traveling around the United States to show and discuss the film.   Temple is Professor Emeritus of conservation, forest and wildlife ecology, and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and senior fellow and science advisor with the Aldo Leopold Foundation.  He’s visiting communities around the country to introduce Leopold and his ideas to audiences who may never have heard of the man who was a key figure in shaping American approaches to managing natural resources; the pioneer of the field that would become known as wildlife ecology and management. Leopold is best known as the author of A Sand County Almanac, which wasn’t published until after his death in the late 1940s.  Sales were initially feeble—Americans were not ready for Leopold’s essays on “one man’s striving to live by and with, rather than on, the American land.”  But when it was reissued as a paperback in the late 1960s, Americans and others around the globe had caught up with Leopold; the book has sold over two million copies in ten languages. Leopold was a Yale-trained forester who, as noted by Temple, never stagnated in his thinking.  In fact, over the course of his 61 years, Leopold changed his view in several areas, perhaps most notably, his ideas about predators.  At the beginning of his career, he had promoted killing of wolves in the American Southwest.   Later in his career, Leopold shifted 180 degrees in his thinking, recognizing the key role predators play in a healthy ecosystem.  This shift is captured in A Sand County Almanac: “We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes.  I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes—something known only to her and to the mountain.  I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise.  But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.” Last Friday, Temple showed Green fire in Reston, Virginia, one of the country’s few planned communities, and one which is facing big changes.  Reston lies...

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R.I.P. Carl Leopold

 This post was contributed by ESA Science Policy Analyst Piper Corp.   Carl at the shack. Photo: Aldo Leopold Foundation Archives.  On November 18, 2009, A. Carl Leopold, son of the celebrated ecologist Aldo Leopold, passed away at his home in Ithaca, New York, at the age of 89. Carl Leopold was an accomplished plant physiologist and World War II veteran, and he carried on the legacy of his father as an active conservationist. He was a founder and director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the founding president of the Finger Lakes Land Trust, and co-founder of the Tropical Forestry Initiative.  As a teenager, Leopold worked with his family to restore the natural landscape on their Wisconsin River farm, a transformation that his father famously chronicled in A Sand  County Almanac.  Carl Leopold’s own writings include the seminal plant physiology text Auxins and Plant  Growth (1955), the textbook Plant Growth and Development (1964), and several articles on the scientific process and the relationship between science and ethics. Leopold’s diverse career included appointments as Graduate Dean and Assistant Vice President for Research at the University of Nebraska, Senior Policy Analyst on the staff of the Science Adviser to the President during the Ford Administration, and William H. Crocker Scientist at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research (an affiliate of Cornell University). After his retirement, he remained active in science, conservation, and public service-he was a strong voice against horizontal drilling and toxic waste storage in the Marcellus Shale, and a volunteer at a local food pantry. He was at work on two papers when he passed away, one on memory in plants and one on Wisconsin phenology.  Leopold will be remembered as an inspired scientist and an eloquent ambassador of his father’s land ethic. In a piece commemorating Leopold’s life, the authors wrote: Carl grew up with strong personal roots in the natural world and in the Land Ethic of his father and after growing his own youthful sapwood, colorful heartwood, and thin latewood, Carl became a mighty and graceful trunk that nurtured and enthusiastically supported many plant physiologists and conservationists who consider themselves to be “Leopold leaves” on the tree of Carl’s life....

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