Aldo Leopold, the 20th century’s most important conservationist, is brought to life in this recent interview on Living on Earth.  Steve Curwood interviews Stanley Temple, Professor Emeritus in Conservation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who is a Senior Fellow at the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Specifically, Aldo regularly recorded the dawn bird chorus on his farm.  This journal increases in value as a baseline record of bird species on a worn out piece of land which he bought to restore to life.  Over decades the Leopold family replanted trees and native plants—often a disheartening activity as many perished before some “took.”

In this interview, Temple explains how he found an unpublished manuscript from the Leopold papers, archived at the University of Wisconsin.  Leopold used one of the first light meters of his time to coordinate the level of light from night to dawn with the sounds of the first birds—the Dawn Chorus.  What got recorded for all time was an invaluable record of the environment against which today’s environmental elements and biodiversity can be compared.

Unlike what is happening in general to habitats, Leopold’s land has increased in biodiversity due to its restoration of native vegetation and watershed.

Enjoy the recording during the interview, and also, a current recording in which the sounds of the birds are nearly drowned by the noise from a nearby freeway.