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AIC Celebrates Aldo Leopold With Daylong Event

Screening of Green Fire film connects conservationist, modern environmental projects

The Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) in Newcomb, N.Y., will celebrate the life of legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold Jan. 21 with a slate of activities that include readings from his famous book, "A Sand County Almanac"; an opportunity for participants to construct an iconic Leopold bench; and a screening of Green Fire, a full-length documentary about Leopold's life and work.

Leopold, a prolific writer who has been called the father of wildlife management, was born in 1887 and had a career with the U.S. Forest Service before accepting a job as a chair in game management at the University of Wisconsin. He died in 1948. More than two million copies of "A Sand County Almanac" have been sold.

The event at the AIC, operated by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, is intended to become an annual event held in the month of Leopold's birth.

Participants will be able to attend one or all of the programs:

  • 9 a.m. - Sit with Aldo: Leopold Bench Building Workshop Participants will enjoy a hands-on workshop building the iconic Leopold bench, supplemented by historical interpretive content. Registration fee includes building materials; tools will be provided. Those wishing to participate in this workshop are asked to register in advance by contacting Rebecca Oyer at royer@esf.edu or 518-582-2000.
  • 10:30 a.m. - A Coffeehouse Conversation: Reading of A Sand County Almanac Leopold's beloved book is as much a beautiful piece of writing as it is a foundation for the modern conservation ethic. Participants will enjoy coffee, tea and other light refreshments while listening to select passages from A Sand County Almanac.
  • 11:15 a.m. - Bench-Building Workshop continues.
  • 12:30 p.m. - Lunch break Participants should bring their own or go into town.
  • 1:30 p.m. - Showing of Green Fire With support from the Leopold Foundation, participants will enjoy a screening of this remarkable film.
  • 2:30 p.m. - Catching Fire: A Panel discussion of Green Fire, Leopold and His Legacy Following the film there will be a conversation examining Leopold's life and the diverse and often complex ways in which his legacy has become part of the modern conservation movement and our social consciousness. This portion of the program will include a facilitated conversation among scholars, advocates, educators and resource managers from a variety of professions and disciplines. Panelists include:
    • Dave Gibson, a partner in the non-profit Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve. Gibson's work applies Leopold's legacy to the modern environmental and conservation movement.
    • Lisa Eddy, a progressive educator living in Adrian, Mich., who has developed exemplary programs integrating Leopold's philosophies into her curriculum.
    • Marianne Patinelli-Dubay, an environmental philosopher introducing critical perspectives on Leopold's ethic and its cultural impact and implications.
  • 4 p.m. - Coffeehouse Reading Selected passages from A Sand County Almanac will be read. Light refreshments will be served.

The film, Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time, is a production of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Center for Humans and Nature. The film shares highlights from Leopold's life and extraordinary career, explaining how he shaped conservation in the 20th century and still inspires people today. Although probably best known as the author A Sand County Almanac, Leopold is also renowned for his work as an educator, philosopher, forester, ecologist, and wilderness advocate.

The film is being shown in community screening venues like this one before it is released on public television in early 2012.

Green Fire illustrates Leopold's continuing influence by exploring current projects that connect people and land at the local level. Viewers will meet urban children in Chicago learning about local foods and ecological restoration. They'll learn about ranchers in Arizona and New Mexico who maintain healthy landscapes by working on their own properties and with their neighbors, in cooperative community conservation efforts. They'll meet wildlife biologists who are bringing back threatened and endangered species, from cranes to Mexican wolves, to the landscapes where they once thrived. The Green Fire film portrays how Leopold's vision of a community that cares about both people and land-his call for a land ethic-ties all of these modern conservation stories together and offers inspiration and insight for the future.

For more information about the day's events, please contact Rebecca Oyer, AIC program manager, at royer@esf.edu or 518-582-2000. The AIC is located at ESF's Newcomb campus, on Route 28N in the Aidirondacks.