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Jordan, William R., III (ed.) / Our first 50 years: the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum 1934-1984

Ashton, Peter Shaw
Keynote address: the University of Wisconsin Arboretum from a distance,   pp. 6-[10]

Page 6

Keynote Address6 
The University of Wisconsin Arboretum from a Distance 
by Peter Shaw Ashton 
 I have accepted your invitation to speak at this celebration as perhaps
the greatest single honor I have received since arriving in the United States
five years ago. First, I have admired Aldo Leopold since I was a child. His
gentle wisdom has greatly influenced my career as a scientist, as well as
my broader quest for a deeper understanding of man's relationship with the
natural world. The Arboretum now stands as testimony to Leopold's vision,
here embodied in a down-to-earth, yet subtle and uncompromisingly perfectionist
approach to the restoration of damaged landscapes. 
 As Leopold predicted, it has taken fifty years to heal the land, and there
is still much to do. You have been extraordinarily lucky in attracting the
best people to do the job — people not only rigorous in their science
but broad in their knowledge and attitude toward the task. If it was Leopold's
ideas that influenced those who founded the Arboretum, it was John T. Curtis
and Henry C. Greene who implemented these ideas, and in so doing, secured
a place for the Arboretum in the history of plant ecology. A tradition of
excellence has been set, and is extended into our own time through the work
of Grant Cottam, through the 
limnological research carried out as part of the International Biological
Program, and through the multitude of projects that continue in the Arboretum
 The key to the remarkable level of success achieved has been the holistic
approach that has been adopted. This is notably exemplified by the restoration
of the prairies. That project itself is of great interest to me, for these
communities, with their immense number of species and intricate spatial and
temporal patterns, bear interesting analogy with tropical rain forests, whose
community structure I have been studying now for more than twenty-five years.
The work at Madison has done 
Digging plants near the Wisconsin River. Supervisor Ted Sperry, right 

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