I attended a Land Ethics symposium up in PA today, which, other than getting up at 4:30am, was an excellent opportunity to be around other people in the landscape and ecological fields. The presentation that resounded the most for me was by Steven Apfelbaum, who bought and restored an 80 acre farm up in Wisconsin from its 20th century disturbed and farmed state to its original native state. Stone Prairie Farm went from about 100 species of plants - at least half crops and invasives - to over 300 natives in 20 years of research, collection and restoration.
Just a snippet (from Midwest Booksellers)
I can only imagine how painstaking - and gloriously interesting and rewarding! - to go from remnant to remnant collecting native seed, carefully researching what area of the farm was a particular habitat and microclimate and slowly helping massage the landscape back to life. From 1 emaciated fish and 2 springs in 1981 to 10 rare species and 100 springs in 2008, shows how incredible is nature's work, when given some help to return her to her prime. The farm is 6 miles from the next nearest habitat, and yet critters FIND IT. Snakes and birds and coyotes and squirrels somehow travel to get to this little semi-isolated oasis!
I am SO awed by nature and those who clearly LOVE it so much. Steven kept talking about the LOVE for the land, to the point where I had tears in my eyes.
Definitely check out his book Nature's Second Chance - Restoring the Ecology of Stone Prairie Farm, or at least search for some of his posts about the farm at Beacon Broadside. I can't wait to read it, and may have to break my Lenten fast from spending to do so....
Oh My Goodness! I didn't even get to talk about Leopold....don't want to bore anyone (myself included) with TOO long a post. Just leave it to say that there was a LOT of talk about Aldo Leopold today (ok, some. Maybe most of it was in my head) and it rekindled my love affair with environmental philosophy and the idea of "Land Ethic."
"We shall never achieve harmony with land,
any more than we shall achieve absolute justice or liberty for people.
In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve, but to strive."
Labels: heart, land ethic, landscape