In 1933, Aldo Leopold was named chair of game management in what is now the UW-Madison Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology. Just weeks after his appointment, he gave the first in a series of radio talks about conservation on the College of the Air. Unfortunately, the recordings of his talks no longer exist. However, the transcripts are available thanks to Stanley Temple, the Beers-Bascom Professor Emeritus in Conservation in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, who for 32 years held the academic position previously held by Leopold.
Leopold’s first talk, which took place on September 8, 1933, was aimed at rural landowners and introduced his then-new idea of increasing game bird populations by leaving food and cover for them on farmland.
Temple read a portion of Leopold’s first talk for a recent episode of WPR’s Wisconsin Life. It was the first in an ongoing Wisconsin Life series featuring Temple reading and discussing Leopold’s radio conservation talks. Episodes will air approximately one each month though next summer.
“When you listen to his radio talks, it’s quite clear that he is addressing primarily the farmers and rural landowners of Wisconsin,” Temple said. “And that of course is quite consistent with his outreach obligations for the College of Agriculture, as well as his own realization that these were the individuals that held the future of wildlife conservation in their hands.”
Temple noted that Leopold was not well-known outside the circles of wildlife conservation and forestry at the time. So one way he reached out to the general public was through these radio talks. For many Wisconsinites, it was the very first time they heard Leopold’s “brand-new, revolutionary ideas” about wildlife conservation.
Photo at top: Jeff Miller/UW-Madison.