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Homeschool Nature Explorers

Thu, September 18
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Homeschoolers: Come hike with us to learn to identify plants during this first installment…

Take Wing Event: Eco Station Tour

Thu, September 18
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Take wing with PEEC at one of our special Take Wing events.  These special event…

Take Wing Event: Valles Caldera Elk Tour and Bond Cabin Snack

Thu, September 18
5:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Take wing with PEEC at one of our special Take Wing events.  These special event…

Geocaching 101

Fri, September 19
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Have you heard about geocaching and want to learn more? Don't know what it is, but like hi…

Take Wing Event: Sulphur Springs Tour with the Goffs

Sat, September 20
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Take wing with PEEC at one of our special Take Wing events.  These special event…

Take Wing Event: Private Birding at Leonora Curtin Wetlands

Sun, September 21
7:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Take wing with PEEC at one of our special Take Wing events.  These special event…

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Leading Minds In the Ecological Movement

By Michele Altherr

Howard Gardener wrote in his book Leading Minds, "a leader is an individual (or rarely, a set of individuals) who significantly affects the thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors of a significant number of individuals." Gardner also wrote that some are direct leaders and affect people through face-to-face interactions, and others are indirect leaders that impact us through their works. However as I tried to determine which naturalists were which kind of leader, I had to give up. It seemed that the leaders for the environment were wonderful hybrids. They all created works, whether it was a piece of writing such as Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, photographs such as Moonrise Over Hernandez by Ansel Adams, or films such as The Wonderful Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. Additionally, they knew how to speak directly to the people of the world and its governments. They each possessed the crucial leadership ability to tell a "story", and they embodied their stories in their individual lives. And so these naturalists often faced, with extraordinary courage, many controversies sparked by their stories. However, at the same time they were able to turn obstacles into opportunities. Not only are the naturalists featured below famous, but they are also heroes because, as Joseph Campbell said, they "followed their bliss."

Ecology Hall of Fame
NWF Conservation Hall of Fame


Aldo Leopold

Aldo Leopold, Forester, Wildlife Ecologist, and Writer (1888-1948)

"To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering."

"Once you learn to read the land, I have no fear of what you will do to or with it. And I know many pleasant things it will do to you."

Aldo Leopold had a unique gift for communicating the science of ecology and is best know as the author of A Sand County Almanac, a landmark collection of essays and sketches dealing with the relationship between land and people. It was as a young boy that he began to develop life-long connections to the land. He grew up in Iowa along the Mississippi River and explored the wild parries, woods and streams near his home. After graduating from Yale, he went on to serve for nineteen years in the southwest for the US Forest Service. In 1933, he wrote the seminal book Game Management which established the new field of wildlife ecology. Subsequently the department of Game Management was first established at the University of Wisconsin of which he became first chair. His life's work led him to see the land as a living organism and to eloquently promote the idea of a land ethic and the meaning of what it is to live in harmony with land and one another.

Celia Hunter

Celia Hunter, Alaskan Conservationist (1919-2001)

"I think what I'd like to leave with people your age is the idea that change is possible, but you're going to have to put your energy into it . . .I'm past 80 and I'm not going to be the mover and shaker of this, but people like you are. And you're going to have to bite the bullet and really decide what kind of world you want to live in."

Celia Hunter was a woman true to her vision. She was born in the heart of Washington logging country between two World Wars. When she was told there were things she couldn't do as a woman, she did them anyway. As a young woman she worked in a logging camp. Then she became a fighter pilot during WWII and ferried aircraft and supplies across the country. It was as an Air force pilot that she saw and fell in love with the Alaskan wilderness. From then on she dedicated herself to Alaska's conservation issues, which until her arrival in 1947 was a state with no environmental movement. She co-established and built a wilderness camp, Camp Denali, from which, for two decades, she showed visitors the many wonders of Alaska. She co-founded the Alaskan Conservation Foundation, and became the first woman leader of an environmental organization, The Wilderness Society. She always said that her favorite quote was, "Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans," because that was what happened to her.

Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams, Nature Photographer (1902-1984)

"Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space . . . We may be filled with regret that so much has despoiled, but we can also respond to the challenge to re-create, to protect, to re-interpret the enduring essence of Yosemite, to re-establish it as a sanctuary from the turmoil of time."

Ansel Adam's radiant and pure black and white photography have captured the incomparable natural landscapes of America like few other artists' work. Adams was born in San Francisco and was four years old at the time great 1906 earthquake during which he was thrown to the ground and broke his nose. As a child he played on the sand dunes beyond the Golden Gate and gained an appreciation of nature. He was initially trained as a concert pianist, but decided in 1919 to work as a custodian at the LeConte Memorial lodge, the early headquarters of the Sierra Club. By 1927 he decided to pursue a career in photography, and he became the official photographer of the Sierra Club. On a trip to Taos, New Mexico in 1929 in found new inspiration for his photography when he was acquainted with George Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, and other leaders in the modern art and photography. Eventually Adams became politically involved in the Sierra Club and became known as both an artist and defender of Yosemite. His images first were used for political purposes when the book, "Sierra Nevada: the John Muir Trail" was published. At the time this book influenced Interior Secretary Harold Ickes and President Franklin Roosevelt to establish the King's Canyon National Park. In 1980 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his efforts to preserve the country's wild and scenic places. Through his work Ansel Adams has inspired the world over with an appreciation of nature.

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson, Marine Biologist and Writer, 1907-1964

"The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction."

Rachel Carson combined her childhood love of the natural world, science, and writing as a marine biologist, editor for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and best selling author of The Sea Around Us (1951), and Silent Spring (1962). With Silent Spring, this gentle and determined woman challenged the agricultural industry, by speaking out against the pervasive and indiscriminate use of pesticides which were poisoning our lakes, rivers, oceans, and ourselves. Though many people tried to discredit her work, she withstood the pressure and ultimately persuaded Congress to enact laws that changed the way we used pesticides. Because of Rachel Carson, many people now work in the field of environmental science and strive to temper technological progress with its broader effects on our natural world.

Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder, American Poet, Ecology Philosopher (1930- )

"Nature is not a place to visit, it is home."

Gary Snyder grew up near Puget Sound in Washington State where he developed a life-long love of nature. Snyder writes, "I had been introduced to the high snow peaks of the Pacific Northwest when I was thirteen and had climbed a number of summits even before I was twenty: I was forever changed by that place of rock and sky." Eventually, he came to believe that there was a human need for direct experiences with wilderness. While in college he was introduced to Chinese and Japanese culture and poetry, which became another life-long interest, and he enter graduate school in Oriental Languages. In 1969, he co-founded the deep ecology movement, which recognized the intrinsic value of all life wherever it is found. Currently, he is a professor of English at the University of California Davis, where he helped to start the Nature and Culture Program. Both nature and East Asian culture have inspired Gary Snyder's writing. His works include, Myths and Texts (1960), Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems (1969), Earth House Hold (1969), Turtle Island (1974, winner of the Pulitzer Prize), and more. His most recently completed work is Mountains and Rivers Without End, an epic of geology, prehistory, and planetary mythologies.

Terry Tempest-Williams

Terry Tempest-Williams, Naturalist and Writer (1955- )

"What do we wish?--To be whole. to be complete. wilderness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separated from."

Terry Tempest Williams grew up near the Great Salt Lake and has said that her ideas have been shaped by the Great Basin and the Colorado Plateau. Rarely has one woman spoke and written with deeper passion on behalf of learning from the land, saving wild lands from exploitation, and the deterioration of human health as result of environmental destruction. Her writings and efforts were central to central to the establishment of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by President William Jefferson Clinton. Williams is best known for her 1991 book Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place which tells the story of the flooding of the 1983 flooding of the Bear River Migratory Bear Refuge. For more information on Ms. Williams life and writings visit Coyote Clan at

John Muir

John Muir, Conservationist and Writer (1838-1914)

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything in the universe."

"Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountains . . . Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms energies, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."

John Muir was born in the coastal town of Dunbar, Scotland in April 1838. His family emigrated to America when he was eleven. The family eventually established a farm in Portage, Wisconsin. When Muir's strict father allowed him and his brother a break from chores, they would joyfully roam the woods and countryside together. In 1867, after recovering from a sever eye injury that left him blind for a month, he resolved to turn his eyes to nature. Thus began his years of wanderlust. Muir walked a thousand miles from Indianapolis to the Gulf of Mexico. He sailed to Cuba , and later to Panama, where he crossed the Isthmus and sailed up the West Coast, landing in San Francisco in March, 1868. The Sierra Nevada and Yosemite Valley of California became his home and he would always return there no matter how distant his travels. Muir wrote, "Then it seemed to me the Sierra should be called not the Nevada, or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light...the most divinely beautiful of all the mountain chains I have ever seen." In later years he turned more seriously to writing, publishing 300 articles and 10 major books that recounted his travels, expounded his naturalist philosophy, and beckoned everyone to "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings." His efforts efforts helped to establish Yosemite, Sequoia, Mount Rainier, Petrified Forest and Grand Canyon national parks. Muir deservedly is often called the "Father of Our National Parks". In 1892 Muir helped to found the Sierra Club and became its first president, an office he held until his death. Muir's final campaign was to prevent the damming of the Hetch Hetchy Valley, a valley that Muir likened to Yosemite itself. In 1913, after years of effort, the battle was lost and the valley was doomed to become a reservoir to supply the water needs of a growing San Francisco. The following year, after a short illness, Muir died in a Los Angeles hospital.

John Muir was perhaps this country's most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist. His visionary life transformed the way many individuals thought about nature - to protect nature for both the spiritual experience it offered and for Nature itself. His life and writings remain an inspiration to this day.

Julia Butterfly-Hill,

Julia Butterfly-Hill, Forest Conservationist (1974- )

"The common thread humanity shares is that we are all children of the Earth. We all need clean air and water for our survival. We are all planetary citizens, and the ancient trees are living, breathing elders that remind us to respect and honor that which we cannot replace."

While in her early twenties, Julia Butterfly-Hill first visited the giant coastal redwoods of California. She felt an immediate connection to the ancient and majestic trees. Then she learned that only 3% of the these thousand year old redwoods remained, and were unprotected from clear cutting by the logging industry. Julia knew she needed to do something to save these giants. Therefore with her characteristic direct action approach, she sold all her belongings, left Arkansas, and traveled to California. Little did she know when she first climbed into Luna, to "tree-sit" for a night that she would stay for two years living in the canopy of the ancient tree. As a result of her courage and commitment, the world became aware of the plight of the last remaining ancient redwoods. Luna was saved. Tall and stalwart on a three-acre island of uncut forest, Luna stands today amid vast areas of clear cutting, mud slides, and devastated watersheds. Luna now wears a heavy belt of metal butterfly bandages the result of a deep chainsaw gash half way through her trunk. Julia continues to fight to protect from logging the last of the ancient redwoods located in the Headwaters Forest. Her story is found in the book, The Legacy of Luna, The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and Struggle to Save the Redwoods. She also founded The Circle of Life Foundation in order to inspire, support and network individuals, organizations, and communities; to create environmental and social solutions that are rooted deeply in love and respect for the interconnectedness of all life.

Julia spoke in Los Alamos on May 8, 2005 as fundraiser for PEEC.

Marjorie Stoneman Douglas

Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, Everglades Conservationist and Writer (1890-1998)

"Since 1972, I've been going around making speeches on the Everglades. No matter how poor my eyes are I can still talk. I'll talk about the Everglades at the drop of a hat. Whoever wants me to talk, I'll come over and tell them about the necessity of preserving the Everglades. Sometimes I tell them more than they wanted to know."

Douglas grew up in Massachusetts and remembered summer evenings when her family sat on the porch and watched the kids played among the elm trees. When Marjorie Stoneman was four years old, she first visited Florida. However, not until after college, while she worked at her father's newspaper, did she first learn about the Everglades, a landscape that many considered a worthless swamp. She became fascinated with southern Florida, and in 1915 she moved there and began her life's work to protect the region with a fiery, tell-it-like-it-is commitment. In 1947, she published the book River of Grass, which awakened the notion that the region was a vast flowing river that harbored a fragile ecosystem. Also in the book she summarized the role of the Everglades as the major watershed for the the region, portrayed its diverse wildlife, and recounted the history of its native peoples. She served on the committees to create Everglades and Biscayne National Parks. She lived to be 108, and will be remembered as the "Mother of the Everglades."

Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt, Conservationist and American President (1858-1919)

"We of an older generation can get along with what we have, though with growing hardship; but in your full manhood and womanhood you will want what nature once so bountifully supplied and man so thoughtlessly destroyed; and because of that want you will reproach us, not for what we have used, but for what we have wasted...So any nation which in its youth lives only for the day, reaps without sowing, and consumes without husbanding, must expect the penalty of the prodigal whose labor could with difficulty find him the bare means of life." Arbor Day - A Message to the School-Children of the United States" April 15, 1907

Theodore Roosevelt was an astonishingly multifaceted man. He was the youngest man to be elected president at age 42 and the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the end to the Russo-Japanese War. Roosevelt led two major scientific expeditions for prominent American Museum, wrote 35 books, and helped to found the NCAA. He and his wife Edith raised six rambunctious children and kept a menagerie of animals at the White House including Jonathan Edwards the Black Bear Cub, Josiah the Badger, Eli the Blue Macaw, and an assortment of ponies, dogs, cats, hamsters and snakes.

His greatest contribution to the world is considered to be in the area of conservation. His early trips to the badlands of the Dakotas helped shape his ideas about conservation. Over time he witnessed the decimation of big game species, such as bison and bighorn sheep and the destruction of grasslands and with them the habitats for small mammals and songbirds.

As a result of these formative experiences Theodore Roosevelt became the first American President to take seriously the concept of the preservation of nature. As President from 1901 to 1909, he designated 150 National Forests, the first 51 Federal Bird Reservations, 5 National Parks (including the Grand Canyon, Crater Lake, and Mesa Verde), the first 18 national monuments (including the Chaco Canyon, Petrified Forest, Muir Woods and Devils Tower), the first 4 National Game Preserves, and the first 21 Reclamation Projects. Altogether, in the seven-and-one-half years he was in office, he provided federal protection for almost 230 million acres, a land area equivalent to that of all the East coast states from Maine to Florida. For more information on Theodore Roosevelt visit

Rosalie Edge

Rosalie Edge, Suffragette and Conservationist (1877 - 1962)

"When we suffrage women attacked a political machine, we called out its name, and the names of its officers, so that all could hear. We got ourselves inside the recalcitrant organization, if possible, and stood up in meeting. We gave the matter to the press, first doing something that it should make news."

At age 52, Rosalie Edge's career as the first prominent woman in the American Conservation Movement began with a fateful piece of mail. While visiting Paris she received a 16 page booklet entitled A Crisis in Conservation by Willard Gibbs Van Name. The booklet ignited her outrage with descriptions of the slaughter practiced and condoned by groups of sportsmen. The pamphlet further implicated the Association of Audubon Societies as being in league with the gunners to protect their sport and did little to protect birds other than songbirds. She became involved in the further distribution of A Crisis in Conservation and other pamphlets written by Van Name. Within a year she helped to form the Emergency Conservation Committee which primarily published pamphlets, news releases, letters and other papers. The power of the Emergency Conservation Committee became enormous because each mailing would produce editorials from its supporters on the staffs of the prominent newspapers, such as the New York Times. The Emergency Conservation Committee campaigned against the management of the Audubon Society and for the enlargement of National Parks and the protection of waterfowl. Also Rosalie purchased land and established Pennsylvania's Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, a refuge that protects migratory hawks and other raptors as they migrated each fall on their route from Canada and New England to Georgia and tropical America. This was her response to the killing and wounding of thousands of migrating hawks each year by hunters. An old revolutionary war road had made it possible for local gunners to get within easy shooting distance of the hawks. In the 22 years of existence of the Emergency Conservation Committee, there were more than a hundred titles published and more than a million copies distributed.

Rosalie's conservation activities were a product of the techniques she learned as a leader in Women's Suffrage and produced remarkable achievements: the establishment of King's Canyon and Olympic National Park, the reform of the Audubon Society, the protection of the waterfowl, the founding and funding of Pennsylvania's Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, and more. For more information on Rosalie Edge visit

Ruth Patrick

Ruth Patrick, Liminologist (1907- )

"You should never think you are the tops, that you are more important than anyone else. Be honest in your work. Work hard and do it with a new approach."

As a child Ruth would take walks in the forest with her father. With a tin can, string and pole they would scrape the bottom of streams for samples of life. At home she would climb onto her father's lap and look with him at what they had caught through a microscope. She went on to earn a PhD in Botany in 1934, a time when female scientists were rare. She was a pioneer in the field of ecology and the concept of interdependence, especially in freshwater aquatic systems. In the 1940's while in the field, Ruth developed new methods to determine the health of freshwater systems by measuring the abundance and diversity of plants, animals and bacteria in the ecosystem. The methods are still used for fieldwork to this day. She also learned how to use diatoms, small single-cell algae, as a way to understand the health of a steam, and she invented the diatomer, a device that determines the presence of pollution in freshwater. Ruth has advised presidents from Johnson to Clinton and received many awards. She says. "I have always tried to leave the world a better place through my science."


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