Thursday, July 28, 2011

Aldo Leopold Center

Speaking of permaculture... I visited the "shack" of Aldo Leopold today in Baraboo, Wisconsin. This site might be one of the first attempts at modern "permaculture."

It was a muggy mosquito-laden day biking through the oaks, chestnuts, and pines on the way to the birthplace of  A Sand County Almanac, a classic in conservation ecology. I had seen video footage of the site this past earth-day at a screening of Green Fire. being here in person I gained an appreciation of what a family-man Aldo Leopold was. Walking around the fire pit and reading circle, I saw how the proactive conservation at the shack was team-oriented, family-centered. They changed the once-cleared farmland back into a thriving Oak savannah. The variety of birds darting through these carefully spaced trees is dizzying. This family created a living legacy beyond written words they left their mark, their secular "spirit" in the physical plane, in the growing ecosystem that germinated decades ago, in their minds. Being there I sensed how this was a family of survivors. 

One of the most striking artifacts in the Center was a beautiful hand-crafted bow Leopld had made. Apparently, the entire Leopold family were accomplished archers. Aldo's wife Estella was the best shot as she won the state archery championship! A family of trained hunters does not go hungry :)

Here is a video clip from my pilgrimage. 

The river I speak of is the Baraboo River and the living daughter or Aldo and Estella Leopold is Estella B. Leopold - professor emeritus of botany at the University of Washington, Seattle.

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