Conservation/Conservation Education


In the early 1950’s Paul read the works of Aldo Leopold.  This inspired his second great passion- conservation.  Below are some of Paul’s quotes regarding conservation.

This is the story of a piece of land. It is a small piece of land as we measure our state – only one half mile square – and yet, as is the case with every piece of land, every part of the earth’s surface, this half mile has had its part in the vast  and often violent changes that are the earth’s history.  In that sense, any spot on which you stand, anywhere upon the earth, you are on historic ground, because no place is  ever the same. (Madison School Forest, Book, 1960, page 1).

Everywhere we look in the forest we will find some of the life so abundantly present –  our job is to try to understand this life. (Madison School Forest, Book, 1960, page 3.)

Except as the Mississippi overflows and the waves of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan wash our boundaries, no surface water flows into Wisconsin. Only the rains and the snows and the filtration through the rocks enter our State. We stand rich in initial water quality and rich in initial water bounty at the head of a vast watershed that drains America’s heartland.

Today the cities are here and people have grown prosperous with what has been wrung sometimes unwillingly from this land. Ours now is to build on this somewhat used-up heritage, to face the future with resources now recognized as limited, by a certainly greater population with an ever-increasing demand for more from these diminished resources.

If anything is perfectly clear to Conservation, this view point should be – the old free-wheeling days are over – there will be less and less for more and more and it must truly be shared or the day of reckoning will be frightful. A second viewpoint I also hold – that despite these losses there is still enough left and there is still enough time.  The ball game isn’t over.

In the past decade I have witnessed and felt a fresh breath of stirring of the American ecological conscience – a conscience are as well with moral indignation. Now I am quite aware that my scientific friends – the boys who discovered ecology –  look down their well-bred noses at moral involvements-but I am convinced that scientific know-how languishes unless the political will of a people is translated into actions.

Furthermore, all water problems hit conservation first. Wildlife always feels pollution and mismanagement before people. Wildlife has to take it as it comes before the treatment plants, the chlorination, the final filters are put to work. The waters which flow down to the sea carry the agony of wildlife with them. (Excerpts from Speech to Governors Conference on Water Resource Management–1965)

What is something worth? Its worth finally is measured by answers to how badly do you want it, and what are available substitutes. In relationship to outdoor resources we have nearly reached the point of no substitutes.  We can no longer pick and choose. We take it or leave it, and if we leave it, we are indeed blessedly fortunate if a second opportunity for taking later comes our way. (The Wisconsin Nature Conservancy Newsletter — 1967)

Also and finally, I am sort of an old testament prophet type as well as peasant.  All value is in the land, and when the tumult and shouting washes over, still stands the land, and from it will come again  the things  we value. (The Wisconsin Nature  Conservancy  Newsletter — 1973)

“We’re engaged in guerilla warfare, in a vast conspiracy against progress. But you don’t hear  about  us  because  we’re  quiet  about  it.   We’re probably the least dramatic group in the whole ecology movement.  No holy crusades, no protests.  We don’t do anything except buy land.” (On The Wisconsin Nature Conservancy–1979)

You have to build coalitions to get what you need for the environment. Yet all coalitions are of the moment and will pass away. The moment of victory carries the seeds of defeat. (Wisconsin Trails Magazine,  Spring 1973)

Let the boys at Canaveral hurl their rockets at the moon and at whatever swirling worlds there are.  I respect their discipline and their sense of high adventure-but in the cold predawn of the Buena Vista as I listen to one of the last authentic truly wild American voices-I achieve  my adventure. (From Hammerstrom, Strictly For The Chickens. (listening to the prairie chicken “boom“)

Conservation Education

It was only natural that conservation education would become the defining characteristic of  his life.

It seems to me that the purpose of conservation is to conserve for the future.  It  is also obvious that youth is the future. And I think education should be the rope that ties these two futures together. (Wisconsin State Journal, December 6, 1959)

Conservation education should begin in the first grade and be part of the curriculum through every grade. (Wisconsin State Journal, December 6, 1959)

These things I believe:  that our present crop of kids is good and strong and idealistic; that several hundred of them and I have found real purpose together in a month each summer following the habitat “road to abundance.”

That one of the faults of our time is a failure to provide such purpose for youth – purpose which involves hard physical work, work for the common welfare, a chance to get hurt, and a chance to be proud. When this chance is given, then ideas which exist prettily at the theory level take on real meaning – you understand conservation finally when you understand it in your guts and with blisters. These things  I believe. (From Guest Editorial –  John Wyngaard  Column –  October 7, 1964)

Conservation in one sentence is the future of the land – just as education is the future of the race. It has been my unusual good fortune to have held some of the reins of these twin horses as the century gallops on.  (Excerpts from Speech to Governors Conference on Water Resource Management–1965)

Doomsaying is not the way to attract people, certainly young people. I am the cheerful ecologist. Let’s take the young to the hills and show them the glories. There is a future, and man will be a part of it. If that’s not true, why educate?” (Upon  Induction  into  The  Wisconsin  Conservation  Hall  of  Fame–1989)