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In 1949, Oxford University Press published ecologist and writer Aldo Leopold's (1887-1948) classic work, A Sand County Almanac. The book, which has sold over two million copies worldwide, develops Leopold's "land ethic", calling for a responsible relationship between people and the land they inhabit. It remains a touchstone text for the American conservation movement, and has been little less than foundational to the fields of environmentalism and ecology.
In this new project, Stories from the Leopold Shack Aldo's daughter Estella B. Leopold offers a window into the development of the land-ethic theory as it unfolded in her father's life and thought. She reveals this organic development through a series of biographical accounts centered on "the Shack", a small barn on 80 acres in south central Wisconsin purchased by Aldo in 1934 and used by the family every weekend. Working the land together, the family built more than a successful farm, habitable family shelter, or pleasant weekend getaway; they established a new way of living and relating to the land. This experiment became one of the earliest efforts in ecological restoration in the United States, and had a profound impact on Aldo Leopold's later work in forest management and conservationism.
This autobiographical collection begins with the shack and how it came to be rebuilt, giving readers a glimpse into the lives of the Leopold children as they grew up in it. It goes on to describe the family's efforts from 1935 until 1948 to begin ecological restoration on the property of the old farm, and concludes with a discussion of more recent and sustained restoration from 1948 until 2012, including the development of the Aldo Leopold Foundation and its work. Readers of this collection will certainly come away with not only a better understanding of the genesis of Leopold's "land ethic", but also an intimate portrait of the family that grew within Aldo's hub of restoration and conservation.
SAGA OF THE SHACK
1. The Beginning
2. We learned some history at the "Elums. "
3. The reconstruction of the old barn. The Parthenon.
4. Our Travel with Music.
5. Planting pines.
6. Our second fireplace. A shingle roof.
7. Cutting wood. The splitting operation. Learning about the axes. Banding winter
birds. The Bee Tree. Noon picnics. The chickadees and splitting wood.
8. The slough. Skating with the muskrat. Ice on the river.
9. Games in winter. Carl skis the River.
10. Sky Dance. Census for woodcock.
11. Warbler watching.
12.[to be written]
13.[to be written]
14. Summer: an idyllic time at the shack. Sour dough pancakes in the front yard.
Sourdough competition. Morning and evening routines.
15. Our Beach. Dad's handstands. Grasses that blow in the wind. Napoleon, the
log . Phenology.
16. Tree House.
17. What we found in the Sand Blow.
18. Hunting. Gun training. Hand made bows from Dad's carpenter bench.
19. Mother and Dad's bow and arrow skills. Practice at Vilas Park.
20. Mother teaches archery at University of Wisconsin. Mother, a State
21. Planning a drive for a deer hunt. Bow and Arrow hunting. Roving
22. Sammy the crow and Dad. Our first pet bird.
23. Carl's hawks and the horned owl. Carl and falconry.
24. Romeo the second crow and Poco the squirrel.
25. Gus, the pointer.
26. Fluminea the Manitoba crow (Delta)
27. "Dad, could I please have a dog? " [Dad's letter]
28. Road kill for supper.
29. When Luna missed his curfew at the shack.
30. How the river and glacier built the shack area landscape.
31. The old corn field in 1930's.
32. Early work. Planting acorns, walnuts, wild flowers from road cuts.
33. Managing pine plantations during spring break. 40,000 pine trees.
34. Farmer Baxter mows our prairie.
35. Attempts to plant tamaracks in the marshy area west of the "Elums. "
36. Posting signs to protect pines.
37. Work with Frank Terbilcox (local farmer) to develop duck ponds, and mow
38. Planning the future of the shack.
39. Starker's design for an Aldo Leopold Shack Foundation; he becomes our first
president. Family gatherings become meetings of the board and members.
40. Bradley Era, 1980's-2000. Nina and Charles Bradley move to the shack
area and their future log house site.
a. Two Bradley stories about a quiet Pearl Harbor Day.
b. The Bradley Study Center and Flick, the dog.
c. Prairie restoration. Nina building the EBL prairie. Seed gathering.
d. The Leopold Foundation evolving with different programs. Our first
Directors: Expanding the board.
e. The Leopold Fellows Program (in cooperation with the Sand County
f. Summer seminar programs. The two bears prairie.
g. Nina working with Sand County Foundation to establish new prairies. h. Badger Ordinance Plant area. Burning the EBL prairie. Freemans
building the Suvanna Prairie.
i. Summer projects of the Leopold Fellows.
41. The Huffaker Era.
a. Growth of the Leopold Foundation.
b. Green Fire, building the Leopold Center.
A. THE LUNAS, OTEROS AND BERGERES
1. Chronology. Sheep ranching in the Mogollons. San Augustine Plains.
2. Family stories of New Mexico. Photos of Eloisa Luna Otero. Photo of the big house, 135 Grant St., Santa Fe.
B. THE STARKERS AND THE LEOPOLDS
1. Chronology of the Starkers. Their visits to Germany. Settling in Iowa.
2. The Victorian house on Clay St. built by a lumber baron. Charles Starker builds a house for Clara and her husband. The Leopolds, Carl Leopold and Clara Starker, their four children.
3. Certain family stories of the early Starkers and Leopolds.
Estella B. Leopold, the daughter of conservationist and writer Aldo Leopold, is Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Washington, Seattle.