Honoring Conservation Heroes

National Wildlife, April-May 1999 | Go to article overview

Honoring Conservation Heroes


All the acts of government are of slight importance to conservation, Aldo Leopold told us, compared to the acts and thoughts of individual citizens. Leopold is known today as a great hero of conservation, but he was primarily an ordinary citizen who had a passion for the natural world and cared enough to use his special skills to make a difference. Such is the case with all true conservation heroes past and present-- people like John Muir, Rachel Carson and others whose names we have yet to learn.

Just four years ago, a dozen students at Minnesota's New Country School discovered badly deformed frogs during a hike in the Ney Woods and sparked a mass effort (including an NWF campaign) to find the cause and a solution to the growing problem of amphibian deformities. Though their names are not well known, these students share with other, more- celebrated conservation heroes that concern for and ethical commitment to nature is essential to protecting the wildlife and wild places of our world.

In this issue, we pay tribute to several individuals whose outstanding contributions to conservation are being recognized with an NWF National Conservation Achievement Award at this year's NWF Annual Meeting in Houston, Texas (see page 61).

Among the recipients are the New Country School students whose concern and tenacity may help to solve the mystery of amphibian deformities in time to address any human-caused factors. Others include: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientist David Mech, whose work on wolves has helped change public attitudes and allowed this most misunderstood predator to regain a foothold in the wild; Idaho Statesman reporter Rocky Barker, whose insightful articles are building new understanding of conservation issues throughout the West; and the Seattle-based Earth Ministry, a leader in the new movement building on the moral and spiritual commitment of faith communities to care for the Earth. …

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