This resource was created by Joanne Vogel and Kate Reilly.
Exploring the outdoors during the winter months often provides unpretentious yet spectacular views of our natural world. The winter months reveal nature’s basic structures as we marvel at the complexities that exist within.
“When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
Aldo Leopold, captured in black and white on a frozen Wisconsin waterway, exemplifies this reality, as do his words in from A Sand County Almanac which remind us of the imperative ecological work that lies ahead. Aldo Leopold is considered by many to have been the greatest influential conservation thinker of the 20th Century. Learn more about the Aldo Leopold Archives at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
One of the most intimate and rewarding interactions we can experience with nature is to feed birds. People have been tossing crumbs and scraps to wild birds throughout the ages to attract them - sometimes it was to ensnare them, but many times it was out of concern for bird welfare, especially in the wintertime. If you enjoy birds, there's no better way to get a close-up glance at these winged messengers of joy.
In North America, many Indigenous people fed dried corn to turkeys. Thoreau tossed old corn out his back door in the mid-1800s to attract and need birds at Walden Pond. By the late 1880s, intentional feeding of birds became more widespread, along with the conservation moving, saving birds from ending up as decorations on ladies' hats. What else can we learn from our distant past about humans and our penchant for looking after the birds?