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Schoenfeld, Clay (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 49, Number 9 (June 1948)

On the death of Aldo Leopold,   pp. 12-13

Profs in the news,   p. 13

Page 13

standing students from  all over the
country and produced a group of bril-
liant young biologists who are now
bringing new life and enthusiasm to
the growing science of wildlife man-
agement throughout the world.
  He added to game literature the most
advanced treatment of wildlife con-
servation yet published. He left behind
the old d o g m a s and controversial
theories and struck boldly into the field
of biological factors to blaze a trail of
scientific technique destined to be the
highway along which game conserva-
tion will yet move forward to greatest
  But Leopold was not content to con-
fine his splendid enthusiasm, abilities,
and:work to the classroom and the field
laboratory. He was not merely a tech-
nician. He was a practicing forester,
game manager, and conservation con-
sultant. He was a thinker and a human-
itarian. He carried* the fight to the
enemy. He died fighting.
  Let the man speak for himself:
  On the state of conservation--"Every
countryside proclaims the fact that we
have, today, less control in the field of
conservation than in any other contact
with surrounding nature. We patrol the
air and the ether, but we do not keep filth
out of creeks and rivers. We stand guard
over works of art, but species represent-
ing the work of aeons are stolen from
under our noses . . . We aspire to build
a mechanical cow before we know how to
build a fishway, or control a flood, or
handle a woodlot so it will produce a
covey of grouse."
  On game manageirent-"Both scientists
and sportsmen now see that effective con-
servation requires, in addition to public
sentiment and laws, a deliberate and pur-
poseful manipulation of the environment
.... There are still those who shy at this
prospect of a man-made game crop as at
something artificial and therefore repug-
nant. This attitude shows good taste but
poor insight. Every head of wild life still
alive in this country is already artifi-
cialized, in that its existence is conditioned
by economic forces. Game management
merely proposes that their impact shall not
remain wholly fortuitous. The hope of the
future lies not in- curbing the influence of
for that-but in creating a better under-
standing of the extent of that influence and
a new ethic for its governance."
  On  an   American  game policy-"(1)
America has the land to raise an abundant
game crop, the means to pay for it, and
the love of sport to assure that successful
production will be rewarded. (2) There
are conflicting theories on how to bring
the land, the means of payment, and the
love of sport into productive relationship
with each other. No one can confidently
predict which theory is "best." The way
to resolve differences is to bring all theories
susceptible of local trial to the test of
actual experience. The 'best' plan is the
one most nearly mutually satisfactory to
the three parties at interest, namely the
landowner, the sportsman, and the general
public . . . (3) There are some, but not
enough, biological facts available on how
to make the land produce game. All fac-
tions, whatever their other differences,
should unite to make available the known
facts, to promote research to find the addi-
tional facts needed, and to promote train-
ing of experts qualified to apply them."
  On  civi*Lzation-"Twenty centuries of
'progress' have brought the average citizen
a vote, a national anthem, a Ford, a bank
account, and a high opinion of himself,
but not the capacity to live in high density
without befouling and denuding his envi-
ronment, nor a conviction that such capac-
ity, rather than such density, is the true
test of whether he is civilized."
  On recreational development-"To pro-
mote perception is the only truly creative
part of recreational engineering . . Rec-
reational development is a job, not of
building roads into lovely country, but of
building receptivity into the still unlovely
human mind."
  On the passenger pigeon-"The pigeon
lived by his desire for clustered grape and
bursting beechnut, and by his contempt of
miles and seasons. Things that Wisconsin
did not offer him today he sought and
found tomorrow in Michigan, or Labrador,
or Tennessee; to find them required only
the free sky, and the will to ply his wings.
But there are fruits in this land unknown
to pigeons, and as yet to most men. Per-
haps we too can live by our desires to
find them, and by a contempt for miles
and seasons, a love of free sky, and a
will to ply our wings."
  Aldo Leopold knew of such fruits.
He was unrestrained by the ironbound
taboo which decrees that the construc-
tion of instruments is the domain of
science, while the detection of harmony
is the domain of poets. He conceived of
the good life as being as much aesthetic
as practical.
  Aldo Leopold had a contempt for
miles and seasons. He was as familiar
with the grouse of Scotland, the spruce
of Silesia, and the mule deer of Colo-
rado as he was with the Wisconsin
cottontail. He was as alert and open-
minded the day he died as the morning
he walke~d across the Yale Commence-
ment platform.
  Aldo Leopold had a will to ply his
wings. He knew more about land ecol-
ogy than any living man. He had de-
veloped a deep understanding of the
interactions of biotic forces and the
mechanisms of their integrated expres-
sion in the life and landscape of
America. It is no uncommon thing for
a specialist to sound a record depth of
knowledge in a single limited field, but
Leopold had the knack of putting to-
gether a mental clock made of parts
from the whole gamut of earth-sciences,
and then listening for it to tick.
   This is the will and testament of the
  1. To America's hunters, he left a
body of management techniques which
will improve the quantity and quality
of every species of game a hundred
years hence.
  2. To America's nature lovers, he
left a nhilosnnhv    nf iindo rgtandino'
which will enhance the intrinsic value
of every corner lot and wilderness
  3. To America's scientists, he left a
tradition of painstaking methods un-
diluted by laboratory callousness.
  4. To the American public, he left a
continent better for his having lived
on it and an outdoor heritage safer
for his having studied it.
  There was no' pompous church fun-
eral for Aldo Leopold, no painful
memorial service--only a simple com-
mitment to the family lot in Iowa on
April 24. That is the way he would
have wanted it. He was more conscious
than the average man that death is
merely one of the inevitable processes
of nature. He had seen giants of the
forest topple to become rich humus on
the woodland floor. He had seen the
antlers of senile bucks contributing
their nutrients to meadow soil, and
spent salmon turning belly-up in the
shallows while their roe milked the
  And so it is with Aldo Leopold. When
Spring comes to the valley of the Wis-
consin again, he will be there, with the
inheritors of his spirit, listening to the
"peenting" of the woodcock, casting for
walleyes at the head of the island,
mulching a stand of young spruce, and
watching Jim Regan as he burns his
marsh grass.
EDWARD R. MAURER, '90, emeritus
professor of mechanics of the College
of Engineering, died May 1 in a Mad-
ison hospital at the age of 79. He had
suffered a stroke at his home. Professor
Maurer was a member of the Wisconsin
faculty from 1892 to 1935. He was
active in civic affairs and was the win-
ner of the Lamme Medal for the pro-
motion of engineering education.
  RAMON IGLESIA, p r o f e s s o r of
Spanish, died May 5 as a result of
injuries sustained when he jumped from
a window of his third floor apartment
on Sterling Court. two years before.
Professor Iglesia, 42, was an exile
from Franco Spain and had been under
treatment for a nervous condition.
  LOUIS E. REBER, first dean of the
UW Extension Division, died May 11
in Florida at~the agie o90.________
  Prof. RAYMOND DVORAK, band-
master at the University since 1934,
was seriously injured April 14 in the
wreck of a Rock Island streamliner
near Enid, Oklahoma. He lost his right
arm and was badly cut, bruised, and
  Elected recently to the select Society
of Experimental Psychologists w a s
KARL U. SMITH, professor of psy-
  ERWIN A. GAUMNITZ, professor
of commerce, has been elected to the
Madison Board of Education by the
City Council to fill the vacancy created
by the death of Frank 0. Holt, '07.
  Three members of the College of
Agriculture faculty are the incorpora-
tors of the new American Society of
Agronomy. They      are Profs. L. F.
GRABER, '10, EMIL TRUOG, '09, and
L. G. MONTHEY, '40. Purpose of the
society is to increase and disseminate
information concerning crops and soil.
  JOHN L. GILLIN, emeritus profes-
sor of sociology, was honored for his
long years of service on behalf of
prisons, probation, and parole at a
recent annual meeting of the Wiscon-
sin Service Assn. He was presented
with a scroll.
  New    president of the    Wisconsin
Music Teachers Assn. is Prof. PAUL
JONES, '27, of the University of Wis-
consin School of Music.
-  .  I               left  a  -nhi

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