The Local Hosts
The world is changing at a rate and scale unprecedented in human history. How can we meet humanity's needs in just and innovative ways while protecting the environment on which life depends? The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies is confronting this challenge through imaginative research that transcends disciplinary boundaries; through hands-on educational initiatives that bridge classrooms and communities; and through public programs that foster environmental conversations among people from business, government, academia and advocacy.
The Nelson Institute draws its name and inspiration from the late Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin native who helped make environmental protection a top national priority in the latter half of the twentieth century.
Nelson is best known as the founder of Earth Day. An astonishing 20 million Americans participated in the first observance on April 22, 1970. American Heritage magazine described the event years later as "one of the most remarkable happenings in the history of democracy." Today, Earth Day is an annual observance that has grown to a week or more in many locales.
The mission of the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology is to provide science-based research, instruction, and extension that supports forest and wildlife conservation and management in an ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable fashion.
The Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology had its origin in 1933 when the University of Wisconsin-Madison created a Chair in Game Management for Professor Aldo Leopold. Six years later, Leopold formed the Department of Wildlife Management, the first academic department in the world dedicated to the emerging field of wildlife management. Forestry research was conducted in several college programs and in 1959, the Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management was created to organize forestry and wildlife research under one program.
In 1962, the college created separate Departments of Forestry and Wildlife Management. A further change in 1967 created the Department of Wildlife Ecology, a name more in keeping with the Department's emphasis on the inter-relationships of animals and their physical environment. In 1997, the department name was changed to the Department of Forest Ecology and Management. The two departments were again combined in 2007 to form the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology.
The Aldo Leopold Foundation is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, donor-supported organization based at the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The foundation’s mission is to inspire an ethical relationship between people and land through the legacy of Aldo Leopold. Leopold regarded a land ethic as a product of social evolution. “Nothing so important as an ethic is ever ‘written,’” he explained. “It evolves ‘in the minds of a thinking community.’” The foundation's membership forms a modern day "thinking community," and the foundation's programs create opportunities for rich, diverse, and productive dialogue with members and others about humanity’s relationships to land, allowing the idea of a land ethic to unfold in myriad ways.
The Wisconsin Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology continues Wisconsin’s deep legacy of conservation.