Tag Archive | Ed Pembleton

Naturalist Journeys Explores the Legacy of Aldo Leopold with the Aldo Leopold Foundation as Fall Color Peaks in Wisconsin

EDPE Fall at the Leopold Shack

This fall, Ed and Sil Pembleton, naturalist guides with a strong repeat following, join Naturalist Journeys and the Aldo Leopold Foundation to share their love of prairies, the Mid-West and the legacy of conservation giant, Aldo Leopold. Experts from the Aldo Leopold Foundation staff join Ed and Sil for this year’s October 11 – 17, 2015 tour that showcases the wonderful Wisconsin places where Leopold grew up. Explore treasured locations that inspired Leopold’s conservation writings and principles.

Leopold is famous for his deeply profound, lyrical essays in A Sand County Almanac and other publications, and was a conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer and outdoor enthusiast. As David Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette once said, Leopold is “The poet laureate of the environmental movement.” His legacy lives on through the Aldo Leopold Foundation, a focal point of the tour. Over 2-million copies of his book, written 65 years ago, have been published in nine languages.

Naturalist Journeys’ owner Peg Abbott is excited about the tour partnership with the Aldo Leopold Foundation and hopes that the company’s decades of nature and birding tour experience helps The Foundation find new ways to encourage educational travel for its members, and anyone wanting to learn more about the Leopold legacy. The Foundation currently offers day tours of the Aldo Leopold Shack, and occasionally weekend seminars, but this week-long adventure in October is new. Conservation enthusiasts can look forward to a tour, framed in Wisconsin’s glorious fall colors and heralded by the call of Sandhill Cranes. Abbott notes that the birds are preparing to migrate, a poignant time of year learn more about Aldo Leopold’s life, work and philosophy.

Central to this week-long experience is time at the Leopold Farm and Shack, where Leopold found inspiration for many of his essays. Tour participants will contemplate and discuss his conservation ideas and visit the new Leopold Legacy Center, where his inspiring work of advocating a land ethic continues. Both Ed and Sil appreciate literature, and they have prepared readings throughout the tour. In addition to generous time at the Shack and with the Aldo Leopold Foundation staff, participants will explore locales around Wisconsin where Leopold, his family and students worked, learned and planted the seeds of a land ethic that continues to grow and endure today.

Ed Pembleton, former Director of the Leopold Foundation, says, “Leopold inspired me. I have spent my career protecting places important to Sandhill Cranes, and in educating people about them. I keep this quote from Leopold where I see it daily: ‘Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty.’ It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language. The quality of cranes lies, I think, in this higher gamut, as yet beyond the reach of words.”

WISC 13 Pat photo craneThe Foundation’s Wisconsin-based work has international influence; close to the Leopold Foundation is the International Crane Foundation’s headquarters. Participants on the October 11 – 17 tour will have the opportunity to see all 15 of the world’s species of cranes at the International Crane Foundation.

Find full details of Naturalist Journeys’ Aldo Leopold’s Wisconsin Nature and Hiking Tour, limited to just 12 persons, at http://naturalistjourneys.com/jcalendar/jc_WI15.htm. This seven-day nature and birding tour begins and ends in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

More about the Aldo Leopold Foundation: 

The Aldo Leopold Foundation’s mission is to foster the land ethic through the legacy of Aldo Leopold. Their vision is to weave a land ethic into the fabric of our society; to advance the understanding, stewardship and restoration of land health; and to cultivate leadership for conservation. The five children of Aldo and Estella Leopold established the Aldo Leopold Foundation as a not-for-profit conservation organization in 1982.

More about Aldo Leopold: 
Leopold,deservedly known as the “Father of Wildlife Management,” wrote the first text and taught the first course at the University of Wisconsin. A superb teacher and researcher with a great ability to connect with landowners, he and his students were involved early on with farmers on the prairie near Lake Mills in a cooperative research and wildlife management project.

More about Naturalist Journeys LLC: http://www.naturalistjourneys.com 

Naturalist Journeys, LLC creates top-rate, unique natural history and birding tours. Our list of tours includes off-the-beaten-track locations, allowing participants to get to know places close to home that they may know little about. We like to build intrigue, and our strong network of talented guides share their expertise and help design our tours.

Photo credits: Leopold Shack, Ed Pembleton; Crowned Crane, Pat Owens


Kansas Isn’t What You Think It Is By Ed Pembleton © 2010

Prairie Hike by Ed Pembleton

A Prairie Hike in Kansas by Ed Pembleton

“Kansas isn’t what you think it is.” Those words from one of the September 2010 Splendor in the Grass tour participants pretty well summarize the trip.

It seemed to be a cumulative thought that developed during our week. As our tour progressed from Wichita through the spectacular wetlands of Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira, through bison pastures and on into the geologically bolstered prairies of the Flint Hills, Kansas acquired new meaning. On closer inspection, the state that is supposedly flat, dry and boring turned into a charming place with friendly people and big skies covering wide open prairie landscapes. We entered a living and working landscape harboring a wealth of history and native ecosystems that inspire people to embrace the present, put down deep roots, care for what they have and prepare for the future.

This year we were a bit behind shorebird migration and a little ahead of peak fall color on the prairie, but Kansas gave us a great show of autumn, butterflies, bison, birds wildflowers and weather. We enjoyed warm days and cool evenings and were even treated to an impressive Great Plains thunderstorm that ended our evening with a rainbow!

Prairie plants and tallgrass ecosystems quickly became a comforting countryside that provided surprises and new discoveries at every turn. Big Bluestem, Indian Grass and Switchgrass seemed to reach out and almost demand a caress or handshake as people walked to the crest of a hill. Prairie wildflowers brightened our days with brilliant yellows and showed us how they played host to a gathering of butterflies, other insects and spiders. The wind, a near constant companion, quivered the cottonwood leaves, changed the clouds in the sky, reminded us to secure light objects, blew our hair and cooled our brows. Seven Scissor-tailed Flycatchers gave us an unexpected delight with a greeting from their perch on a power line and even the Great-tailed Grackles surprised us with their clever parking lot food gathering strategies.

And most friendly of all, were the Kansans who greeted us in the small town cafes, shops and hotels, shared their natural and historical heritage in centers and museums and expressed their gratitude for our interest in the place. Looking back it seems like we were hugged by the place.

Sil and I return to lead another Naturalist Journeys, LLC adventure this spring – why not join us May 1-6, 2011?