Sand County Anniversary

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Published on: May. 2, 1999

Last revision: Nov. 2, 2010

wildlife research unit at the university established in cooperation with the commission and the new Ashland Wildlife Research Area in Boone County. It was at the Ashland dedication that he asked "Whither Missouri?"

Leopold was not entirely optimistic about Missouri's future, despite the enormous strides of the previous year. On his drive from the Iowa line to Columbia he had made a tally of 100 farms, of which only 40 had any woodlots remaining, 39 of which were grazed and thus "doomed to ultimate extinction." These and other observations forced him to conclude that there was "as yet very little conservation practice on Missouri farms."

The same day he presented another challenge to Missourians in a talk on "Natural History, The Forgotten Science" at the University of Missouri. He advocated an approach to biological education that would build citizens who had an understanding of the living world-who could read the land, as he had done on his drive from Iowa to Columbia, or look at an abandoned field in the Ozarks and comprehend, as he put it, "how Missouri is put together." For his own course on wildlife ecology at the University of Wisconsin he prepared a case history of an Ozark farm, drawn from his Missouri experience.

In the late 1930s Leopold began developing more personal ties to the state. His son Starker, a doctoral student in zoology at the University of California-Berkeley, was hired by the Missouri Conservation Department in 1939 to undertake the comprehensive study of wild turkey outlined by his father a decade earlier. The family gathered in Missouri for their most memorable Christmas ever, hunting at the shanty and in the vicinity of West Plains. His youngest son, Carl, began graduate study at the University of Missouri in 1941, but left to enlist in the Marines the day after Pearl Harbor.

Starker finished his Missouri fieldwork in 1943 and published The Nature of Heritable Wildness in Turkeys, in which he worked out answers to many of the questions posed initially by his father. In 1945 Leopold's daughter Nina moved to Columbia with her husband, Bill Elder, who became a professor of zoology at the university.

In September 1947, Leopold, then a member of the Wisconsin conservation commission, traveled to Missouri for what would be the last time to speak at a testimonial dinner on "The Statesmanship of E. Sydney Stephens," who was retiring after a decade as chairman of the

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