It's hard to believe that the man who today is considered to be one of the strongest voices in the conservation movement is more than a hundred years old. But for those who love Aldo Leopold, the subject of a new film, Green Fire, playing at Wealthy Theatre, his age is no shock once you begin to familiarize yourself with his views, projects, and life.
Dig in deep, and you discover that his vision of humans being a part of a larger system – not just living within that system – is the kind of contemporary notion that resonates with our contemporary environmental organizations even though Leopold's way of thinking came from the last century.
Leopold worked for the U.S Forest Service from 1909 to 1928. However, since the early 1990s, his ideas have become very much in vogue and are increasingly influencing the management of our national forests and other systems as well.
Leopold wrote that the mission of the Forest Service is to "sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations." This is something that we still benefit from and enjoy today -- especially those of us who have ventured to drink in the stunning beauty of our state's National Park, the Sleeping Bear Dunes.
While the movie is more centered on Aldo Leopold's life and 'traditional' conservation, a portion of this film will present his teachings as they apply to both urban and rural settings. This film presents a compelling opportunity to discuss what folks in our community are doing, and relate it back to those who care about our natural resources and the environment.
"Aldo Leopold is one of the preeminent conservationists and is largely responsible for the modern conservation movement. It seemed like a good fit for a lot of what we're doing here in Grand Rapids," says Lee Mueller of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, one of the five area organizations bringing this film to our community for one night only.
"Nature surrounds us in West Michigan, even right in Grand Rapids where the river runs through the city and trees dot the streets," says Keri Amlotte, communications director at the Land Conservancy of West Michigan. "This event is intended to appeal to anyone interested in conservation and who wants to learn more about protecting the land, water, and nature around us."
This presentation is a two-part event, with part one being the film screening, which will provide a big-picture look at conservation. During the second part of this special event, the host organizations will be holding a panel discussion which will “bring it home” as the talk moves to the conservation efforts of West Michigan and how people can get more engaged in this mission.
This event is made possible through the collaboration of Blandford Nature Center, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, Michigan Conservation Districts, Land Conservancy of West Michigan, and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council.