"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."
Aldo Leopold, A Sand
In order to appreciate the work of the Aldo Leopold Foundation , one has to have a knowledge and appreciation of the man for whom the foundation is named.
If you have not heard of
The Aldo Leopold Foundation, in
"For example, there are lots of people who have read A Sand County Almanac (which has been translated into 12 languages) and have been influenced by Leopold's writing and thinking who are working in their own communities. Yes, the challenges are still immense, but I think the argument is pretty strong that there is actually more good work going on now than ever before. But it is more at the local community level, where people are working on their watershed, their creek, behind their house. I think the foundation has an important role to play in ensuring that good work continues."
One of the newest and most exciting ways the Foundation keeps the voice and spirit of Leopold alive today is through their newly released
The film, Huffaker points out, offers great potential for the Foundation to "reach out" to those who seek knowledge, energy and a common ground with others in their communities working to promote and foster the land ethic of the 21 st century. In addition to individual purchases of the
"We're seeing groups of 500 people come together in community to watch a film and talk about what a land ethic could and should look like in their community. We now have more than 800 communities across the country doing showings and this film is still in its infancy," Huffaker said. "And that's what we want to have happen out of the showing of the film -- the idea of working in communities. We want people to find out what does a land ethic mean to them and then to get them engaged and involved and take on environmental and conservation issues in their communities.
"I think the common denominator is a thirst by people who want to be engaged and be part of a bigger community in which they can see what they are doing in their life and their community and how that relates to and is connected to the bigger movement -- Leopold serves as this connective tissue."
"We feel Leopold's message is as relevant as ever," said Huffaker. "Although A Sand County Almanac has been repackaged in multiple languages, we felt that in order to reach people in today's world we needed to use visual medium for communication. The film is an opportunity to not just tell his life story but also to show how people in communities all across the country are in fact trying to implement a land ethic in their communities, whether it's in urban
"What we've been learning (as we reach out to people) is that we often don't lead with terms such as ethics or conscience. We try to find language that is more comfortable and creates conversation. And then all of a sudden, people realize, "Oh, I do care about that family farm. Or I can remember the apple trees blooming.' You have to give people the chance to get into the conversation. We try and lead a conversation with others that starts at more of a superficial level but then deepens when the confidence and comfort of the participant is there to talk more."