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Book Reviews, Nature

Book Review: A Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold

“It is fortunate, perhaps, that no matter how intently one studies the hundred little dramas of the woods and meadows, one can never learn all of the salient facts about any of them.”

First published in 1949, A Sand County Almanac is a beloved book that describes the numerous daily changes in wildlife that take place throughout the year.  A small compact book, I find that A Sand County Almanac is best read when it is shoved in a hiking pack and enjoyed in snippets while sitting on a rock recuperating after a long hike, or tucked under your arm as you shuffle out into your backyard to read while sipping on your morning cup of coffee.   I find that if I read a passage on my lunch break or while on the metro I’m immediately transported into a quiet forest and can almost feel the autumn breeze on my face as I shush through the dead leaves on the ground.

In A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold documents the daily life that he saw on his sand farm in Wisconsin; the book unfolds by each month describing the flora that blooms throughout the season, the species of birds and woodland animals that migrate to Wisconsin throughout the year.  Published by his son after Aldo’s death, A Sand County Almanac, has sold over two million copies in ten languages worldwide, and has inspired countless generations of land stewards and conservationists.  Aldo’s children have since founded The Aldo Leopold Foundation, inspiring an ethical relationship between people and the land.

I love this book.  I’ve read it countless times, and every time I find something newly inspiring and poetic.  It never fails to get me outdoors and wandering through the trees, mouth agape and eyes shining with joy at what I discover in the wild.

“The problem, then, is how to bring about a striving for harmony with land among a people many of whom have forgotten there is any such thing as land, among whom education and culture have become almost synonymous with landlessness. This is the problem of conservation education.”

*All quotes are taken from A Sand County Almanac

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