Broad schedule for 2009 Gila River Festival Festival Theme: Centennial of Aldo Leopold’s Legacy in the Southwest Thursday – 9/17 FIELD TRIP: BOB SCHIOWITZ; 9 am-2 pm Two Forest Service professionals, archaeologist Bob Schiowitz and hydrologist Carolyn Koury, will co-lead a field trip to an historic site of dozens of Civilian Conservation Corps erosion control structures. They will discuss and demonstrate Aldo Leopold's ecological principles on erosion control. Participants will observe the success of these 1930s era CCC structures. RICHARD BODNER AS ALDO LEOPOLD, LIVING HISTORY PERFORMANCE – Silco Theater, Silver City; 150 participants – To be confirmed in early March EXHIBIT OF GILA WILDERNESS DESIGNATION, GILA RIVER, ALDO LEOPOLD; Silco Theater; ongoing throughout festival Friday – 9/18 BIRDING FIELD TRIP: 7:30 am-? Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society’s Jerry Bird (Yes, that’s really his name!) leads a birding field trip to The Nature Conservancy’s Iron Bridge Tract on the Gila River. THINKING LIKE A MOUNTAIN: THE WOLF AND ALDO LEOPOLD: 9 am–4 pm Author & conservationist Michael Robinson leads an interpretive field trip to the area of Aldo Leopold’s epiphany on ecological role of predators. KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Reflections on the Wild Gila River: From Aldo Leopold’s Wilderness Preservation to the Future of the Conservation Movement with Dave Foreman; 7-9 pm; Silco Theater; 150 participants In the early 20th century, conservation pioneer Aldo Leopold argued that America was on a path to losing its wildlands forever. He outlined a list of requirements for “wilderness areas” that included “a continuous stretch of country preserved in its natural state, open to lawful hunting and fishing, big enough to absorb a two weeks’ pack trip, and devoid of roads, artificial trails, cottages, or other works of man.” The headwaters of the Gila River were identified by Leopold as the most logical area to set aside given its relatively intact natural communities, minimal grazing and virtually no development. He submitted his proposal in 1922 and on June 3, 1924, nearly 558,000 acres of land were set aside for the Gila River Forest Reserve, now called the Gila Wilderness, the nation’s first such designation. In a world where so many river systems are degraded by over consumption, pollution, dams and diversions, the Gila River is a rarity as it remains one of the last wild rivers in the Southwest. Environmental historian and conservation leader Dave Foreman will explore the connections between Aldo Leopold’s conservation ethic and Gila River protection. We have Leopold to thank for permanent protection of the Gila’s headwaters. Local conservation groups continue in his footsteps, but how will Leopold’s legacy of wildness be carried into the future? Saturday – 9/19 “ROUND RIVER”: FISHING TRIP WITH DUTCH SALMON, 8 am – 4 pm All day interpretive hike/fishing trip to Gila Wilderness sites discussed in Leopold’s field notes, Round River: From the Journals of Aldo Leopold KAYAK TRIP DOWN THE GILA: 9 am-2 pm; with Far-Flung Adventures FAMILY ACTIVITIES: Farmers’ Market, downtown Silver City ALDO LEOPOLD CAMPFIRE CHAT: Ongoing from 8:30 am – noon; Science teacher Steve Blake portrays Aldo Leopold, reads some of his work, and talks to kids about conservation. MULE-PACKING DEMONSTRATION: Ongoing from 8:30 am – noon; The Gila National Forest’s Mike Carr demonstrates how mules were packed in the days of Aldo Leopold. WOLF TRUNK presentation; Ongoing from 8:30 am – noon; Nancy Kaminski of the Southwest Environmental Center presents information on the Mexican Gray Wolf. GILA RIVER TRUNK PRESENTATIONS; Ongoing from 8:30 am – noon; The Gila Conservation Education Center presents the Gila River natural history and cultural history trunks, featuring activities about the Gila River’s importance for native vegetation, wildlife, Native Americans, early European settlers, and today’s inhabitants. ALDO LEOPOLD HIGH SCHOOL ACTIVITIES; 8:30 am – noon; A puppet parade, diorama-making workshop, and original skit about Aldo Leopold are some of the ideas suggested by Aldo Leopold High School students. To be decided. GALLERY TOUR: Downtown Silver City, 2-5 pm GALLERY OPENINGS – Blue Dome Gallery, 5-7 pm ALDO LEOPOLD FILM FESTIVAL: 3 documentaries about Aldo Leopold; 7-9 pm, Silco Theater Film 1: Greenfire: The Life and Legacy of Aldo Leopold This film is a sneak preview of a movie currently in production by the Aldo Leopold Foundation. 10-15 min. Film 2: Aldo Leopold: His Life and Thought Narrated by Lorne Greene, this classic documentary presents the biography of Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), a renowned scientist, educator, philosopher, scholar and writer, who has been called the "father of wildlife ecology," as well as the "father of wildlife management"; the thoughts and reflections of this important naturalist have guided millions to discover what it means to live in harmony, not only with the land, but also with each other. Born in Burlington, Iowa, Leopold learned as a boy from his father how to look for and appreciate the many mysteries of nature. After graduating from Yale with a degree in Forestry, he joined the U.S. Forest Service as a ranger and supervisor in New Mexico and in 1924 succeeded in having the Gila National Wilderness designated as the first extensive wilderness area in the U.S. 30 min. Film 3: Aldo Leopold: A Sand County Almanac Published the year after Aldo Leopold died, A Sand County Almanac, a literary landmark in conservation, which blends poetic prose with keen observations of the natural world, was the naturalist's most influential work. Translated into nine languages, it has sold millions of copies worldwide and is considered to be a cornerstone for modern conservation science, policy, and ethics. This classic program, narrated by Lorne Greene (Bonanza), is based on the ecologist's famous book and includes his personal collection of beautiful nature sketches and philosophical essays on ecology and ethics. 30 min. Sunday – 9/20 BIRDING FIELD TRIP: 10 am-3 pm Mike Neal, Research Biologist with HawkWatch International, leads a field trip along the San Francisco, a major tributary of the Gila River. A potluck picnic at Neal’s property along the San Francisco is a bonus attraction. KAYAK TRIP DOWN THE GILA: 9 am-2 pm; with Far-Flung Adventures STEWARDSHIP PROJECT: 9 AM – noon The Gila Conservation Education Center hosts a clean-up and trail maintenance project at the San Vicente Outdoor Classroom LECTURE: ALDO LEOPOLD’S PLACE IN THE PANTHEON OF 20TH CENTURY CONSERVATIONISTS; 2 pm; Silco Theater Stephen Fox, author of John Muir and His Legacy: The American Conservation Movement, will present a lecture on Leopold’s role in conservation. One hundred years ago, Aldo Leopold arrived in the Southwest fresh out of the Yale Forestry School. With that background, and newly employed in the young US Forest Service run by Gifford Pinchot, Leopold at first operated from the prevailing human-centered, utilitarian notions of conservation: the earth for human use, to be evaluated and consumed by human needs. During the next fifteen years, which Leopold mostly spent in these parts, he read the local landscapes and experienced an ideological transformation. He thus wound up closer to the ideas of John Muir, Pinchot’s great rival in conservation affairs: an attitude of human forbearance and humility instead of hubris, intrusion and aggressiveness, and a recognition that all forms of life have their own rights and niches in the grand ecological scheme. Leopold later went on to the most distinguished career in twentieth-century conservation, with a blend of literary skills and a sweeping intellectual range that nobody in this field has ever matched. His A Sand County Almanac, published posthumously in 1949, has become the most influential book in modern environmentalism, widely quoted and cited. Over the course of the last century, the American environmental movement slowly went through the same ideological arc as Leopold--from arrogant manipulation to modest, wondering appreciation, from Pinchot to Muir. During his time in the Southwest, Leopold’s personal evolution became a microcosm for the larger transformations that came later. Fox will consider Leopold’s career in the general context of twentieth- century environmentalism, drawing the fundamental links between the two.
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