Thursday, March 6, 2008

Aldo Leopold Died Fighting a Vegetation Fire

You learn something new every day. Aldo Leopold, considered to be the father of wildlife management, died from a heart attack while fighting a vegetation fire near his house. There are conflicting reports about when, but it was either 1947 or 1948.

Here is the account, according to the Des Moines Register:
On a warm spring weekend in April of 1947 he wrapped up his Madison business early and went with Estella and his daughter, Estella Jr. to the Shack. After breakfast on April 21, they smelled smoke and realized one wing of a brush fire was headed to the pines. The fire rapidly moved to a nearby marsh. Pleas for help by Estella to the local fire department went unheeded. Aldo, while fighting the grass fire, apparently suffered a massive heart attack. By the time he was found, he was dead.
The rest of the above article is worth reading too. It covers his early career working for the US Forest Service out of Albuquerque, getting lost in a blizzard, becoming a professor of game management, and his work at the Forest Products Laboratory at Madison, Wisconsin.

More about Leopold from Wikipedia:
Aldo Leopold (January 11, 1887 - April 21, 1948) was a United States ecologist, forester, and environmentalist. He was influential in the development of modern environmental ethics and in the movement for wilderness preservation. Aldo Leopold is considered to be the father of wildlife management in the United States and was a life-long fisherman and hunter. Leopold died in 1948 from a heart attack, while fighting a brush fire on a neighbor's farm.

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