A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold has been on my “to read” list for eighteen years. I’ll admit that I didn’t hear of this bible of environmental science until I started at Michigan Tech in 1996. In our Intro class, my friend and future roommate, Corinna, told me all about A Sand County Almanac. Her enthusiasm had me put the book on my “to read” list. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to read it! Now I teach environmental science and we talk about Aldo Leopold, which led me to decide over the summer to finally read the entire book. It did not disappoint. A Sand County Almanac is a beautifully written love letter to the natural world and all who love it.
Part I is split into monthly writings about nature on Leopold’s sand county farm in central Wisconsin. He brilliantly discusses the history of the area through the chopping down of tree. I found it very interesting scientifically, but also because I now live in Wisconsin. I read parts of this section out loud to my family and they enjoyed it. It made everyone think. Part II is the Quality of the Landscape where Leopold talks about the landscape, ecology, and natural history of various parts of the US including Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Southwest. Part III is Leopold’s musings on various topics, including my favorite, “The Land Ethic.”
The book included wonderful drawings by Charles W. Schwartz. They went along perfectly with the readings and enhanced my reading pleasure. My kids enjoyed flipping through the book and looking at them as well.
Some of my favorite quotes from A Sand County Almanac were:
“There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot.”
“When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
I kept the copy from the library to use as a prop for my Intro to Environmental Science class and I think I got a few people interested in reading it. I need to purchase my own copy!
Overall, an excellent book about nature and conservation – it’s a must read for all! I wish I wouldn’t have left it on my TBR list for so long.
Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library