By Aldo Leopold
We will be able to position this booklet at the shelf that holds the writings of Thoreau and John Muir. San Francisco ChronicleThese unbelievable photos of the flora and fauna discover the breathtaking variety of the unspoiled American panorama -- the mountains and the prairies, the deserts and the coastlines. a gorgeous tribute to our land and a daring problem to guard the area we adore.
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Additional resources for A Sand County Almanac; with essays on conservation from Round River
On 10 September 1877, two brothers, shooting Muskego Lake, bagged 210 blue-winged teal in one day. In 1876 came the wettest year of record; the rainfall piled up 50 inches. Prairie chickens declined, perhaps owing to hard rains. In 1875 four hunters killed 153 prairie chickens at York Prairie, one county to the eastward. S. Fish Commission planted Atlantic salmon in Devil’s Lake, 10 miles south of my oak. In 1874 the first factory-made barbed wire was stapled to oak trees; I hope no such artifacts are buried in the oak now under saw!
In 1866 the last native Wisconsin elk was killed. The saw now severs 1865, the pith-year of our oak. In that year John Muir offered to buy from his brother, who then owned the home farm thirty miles east of my oak, a sanctuary for the wildflowers that had gladdened his youth. His brother declined to part with the land, but he could not suppress the idea: 1865 still stands in Wisconsin history as the birth-year of mercy for things natural, wild, and free. We have cut the core. Our saw now reverses its orientation in history; we cut backward across the years, and outward toward the far side of the stump.
I extract a cup from my shirt front, hoping none will notice its informal mode of transport. I get out my watch, pour coffee, and lay notebook on knee. This is the cue for the proclamations to begin. At 3:35 the nearest field sparrow avows, in a clear tenor chant, that he holds the jackpine copse north to the river-bank, and south to the old wagon track. One by one all the other field sparrows within earshot recite their respective holdings. There are no disputes, at least at this hour, so I just listen, hoping inwardly that their womenfolk acquiesce in this happy accord over the status quo ante.
A Sand County Almanac; with essays on conservation from Round River by Aldo Leopold