Saturday, May 7, 2011

Introducing Will Stolzenburg


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Connecting Our Works and Words by Curt Meine

Thank you, friends, for all your interest in the Wild Read project, and for inviting me to participate. It's a fine spring evening now in Wisconsin, with big batches of warblers moving through on migration amid the late-leafing woods.

These days my colleagues and I are traveling a lot with the Green Fire film. I hope that our trails may cross when it comes to be shown near you.

One of the things we've talked about a lot as the film rolls out is how important it is to reach the next generation with the story of our conservation legacy and the message that they too can and must continue to create the land ethic in their own lives. The film really seeks to connect those who already know Leopold, his writing, and his philosophy, with young people who might never have heard of Leopold. More broadly, I'd say, it seeks to provide connection between the past, present, and future of our conservation community. I've always believed that the more deeply we understand the history of our conservation ethic, the better prepared we will be to meet the challenges of the future. And that holds especially for the next generation of citizens and leaders.

We've been surveying those who have viewed the film. When we ask what steps they might take to further the land ethic in their own lives, the most common response we have had is that they intend to go home and read (or re-read) Leopold's A Sand County Almanac. For a writer, there can be no more rewarding words than that! All of us who love books, and the vital ideas and vibrant worlds they reveal to us, belong to what Wallace Stegner called "the great community of recorded human experience," what Leopold called "the thinking community." That community now has a great responsibility: to connect the words and the works, so that our human and natural communities may endure the many gathering crises before us, create a new vision of renewal, and thrive together. Let's keep reading, and let's get to work!
Meanwhile, I'll be checking in as a Wild Reader, and am really looking forward to seeing what Will Stoltzenburg has to share with us.

Beginning May 8th, our discussions on Thinking Like A Mountain and Once and Future Land Ethic will be moderated by author Will Stolzenburg who writes about the science and spirit of saving wild creatures. As a former staff writer for Nature Conservancy magazine, Will has ventured to the far corners of the world to capture stories of the rarest, oddest, most spectacular creations of nature and the people who would save them. Having written hundreds of magazine articles, Will is most recently the author of the book Rat Island: Predators in Paradise and the World’s Greatest Wildlife Rescue, which will be released later this month. His previous book, Where the Wild Things Were, was selected for Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great New Writers series. He is also the screenwriter for the nationally acclaimed documentary Lords of Nature: Living in a Land of Great Predators.