This past Saturday I had the opportunity to represent Conserve School and the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education Board at the induction ceremony for the three new members of the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame. This year Nina Leopold Bradley, John T. Curtis and David C. Engleson join the 77 other inductees to the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame. The Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame is Located in the Schmeeckle Reserve Visitor Center adjacent to the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. The following comments about the three inductees are from the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame press release for the induction ceremony.
Nina Leopold Bradley A lifelong naturalist and researcher, she promoted the conservation philosophy of her father Aldo Leopold, and spent the last three decades of her life writing and lecturing about his land ethic while actively continuing his phenological research. She was central in envisioning the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center that opened in 2007. The Center serves as the base of ongoing educational programs, a center for Leopold scholars, and the headquarters for the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Nina served on the Board until her death in 2011.
John Thomas Curtis Arguably best known for his seminal book, The Vegetation of Wisconsin: An Ordination of Plant Communities (1959). He became famous for this “continuum” concept of ecological gradients. His work also established the nature of the prairie-forest border and the recognition to the “tension zone” where climate, soil, and fire have created a dynamic transition. At UW-Madison Curtis was instrumental in the development of the Arboretum that was begun by Aldo Leopold.
David C. Engleson Based on his exemplary work as a science teacher/coordinator and his leadership in the Wisconsin Council for Conservation Education, Engleson was appointed as the first Science and Conservation/Environmental Education Consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) in 1967, a position he held until his retirement in 1991. Engleson is known by professionals in the field as “the father of environmental education in Wisconsin.” His influence on environmental conservation has extended internationally.
The ceremony was held at the Sentry Theater with a reception before hand. The attendees to the induction ceremony were welcomed by Eugene Roark who is the President of the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame. Alan Haney who is on the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame Board of Governors and a distinguished Emeritus Professor of Forestry at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point served as master of ceremonies.
The induction of Nina Leopold Bradley was preceded by comments from her daughter Trish Stevenson, the President and Executive Director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation Buddy Huffaker, and Paul Johnson who a former Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Services and currently an Iowa Farmer. The induction of John T. Curtis was preceded by comments from University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor of Biology Donald Waller. The induction of David C. Engleson was preceded by comments from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Professor Emeritus Dennis Yockers, environmental educator and sometimes brutal gourmet Dean Sauers, and Dave’s son Michael Engleson.
I was glad that I had the opportunity to attend this ceremony. The insightful, heartfelt and sometimes entertaining comments by the those speaking on behalf of the inductees provided unique insights into the history of conservation in Wisconsin. It was clear that these three amazing inductees cared not only for the environment, but also for those around them upon whose lives they had such positive impacts.
Head of Conserve School