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A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  20,158 Ratings  ·  983 Reviews
This special edition of the highly acclaimed A Sand County Almanac commemorates the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Aldo Leopold, one of the foremost conservationists of our century. First published in 1949 and praised in The New York Times Book Review as "full of beauty and vigor and bite," A Sand County Almanac combines some of the finest nature writing since T ...more
Paperback, American Museum of Natural History Special Members' Edition, 228 pages
Published June 15th 1989 by Oxford University Press (first published 1949)
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Chris
Nov 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How is it possible that I earned a BS in natural resources (and slipping toward an MS in wildlife) without being required to read this book? Aldo Leopold is often called the father of wildlife management. But Sand County Almanac is not a text book, with nary a glossary, set of models, or flow chart within its pages. It does contain some pretty drawings, and some spellbinding imagery. Leopold goes beyond vividly describing a scene of chopping wood or canoeing a river; he pans back to ecological c ...more
Roy Lotz
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a dull world if we knew all about geese!

Nature is refreshing. Even a short walk in a park can powerfully clear one’s head. For whatever reason—perhaps because our ancestors lived in trees—surrounding oneself with birches and maples produces in nearly everyone feelings of warmth, comfort, and peace. And for many people, nature is more than refreshing: it is awe-inspiring, even divine. Natural environments are, for some, more uplifting than cathedrals. Emerson might have captured this strai
...more
Bam
I've had this book on my shelf for ages and decided to read it in honor of Earth Day. It's a little too cold for reading outside today but the sun is shining, I have the door wall open and I'm enjoying the fresh breezes and birdsongs of spring...while listening to a few of Bach's cello suites. Perfect!

Writing in 1948, Aldo Leopold was already lamenting the damage to nature and the environment caused by human greed and carelessness in the pursuit of more and bigger. He asks the question: "Is a hi
...more
Tony
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty.*

-pause-

Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language. The quality of cranes lies, I think, in this higher gamut, as yet beyond the reach of words.

There is nothing, nothing, beyond Aldo Leopold's reach of words. I've read, oh, sixty or seventy books so far this year - some inventive, some incisiv
...more
Edward
Foreword

A Sand County Almanac

January
--January Thaw

February
--Good Oak

March
--The Geese Return

April
--Come High Water
--Draba
--Bur Oak
--Sky Dance

May
--Back from the Argentine

June
--The Alder Fork

July
--Great Possessions
--Prairie Birthday

August
--The Green Pasture

September
--The Choral Copse

October
--Smoky Gold
--Too Early
--Red Lanterns

November
--If I Were the Wind
--Axe-in-Hand
--A Mighty Fortress

December
--Home Range
--Pines above the Snow
--65290

Sketches Here and There

Wisconsin
--Marshland Elegy
--The Sand Co
...more
P. Lundburg
This book is a true classic and canonized piece of Nature Literature. Leopold was an ecology scientist at the U of Wisconsin, Madison, who bought a small piece of property in the Sand County region in central Wisconsin, where he and his family would take long weekends and vacations, fixing the place up and enjoying nature.

The essays collected in this amazing book are Leopold's musings and observations on his little chunk of the wilderness, reflecting on everything from sipping coffee outside in
...more
Adeline
Feb 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac is a compelling blend of beautiful depictions of nature, personal opinion and reflection, and political commentary. Leopold extols the beauty of nature and emphasizes how much humans are a part of it. As members of the natural world, humans have a dramatic effect on the environment, and Leopold does not shy away from this issue. Rather than advocate for total preservation of wilderness, Leopold expresses the value of hunting and using the resources present in ...more
Stephen
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ecology, non-fiction
Completed shortly before his death in 1948, University of Wisconsin forestry professor Aldo Leopold grants his readers the supreme privilege of seeing nature through the original ecologist's eyes. Leopold was probably not the first to use the term "ecologist", nor the first to be be so branded; surely he was the first to deserve it. Though it may appear a quaint historical piece at first glance, its message is no less potent and relevant in the 21st century: nature, the land, deserves full resp ...more
Rebecca Foster
As a conservationist, Leopold was an heir to Thoreau and a thinker ahead of his time, yet I expect few people know how much of our current philosophy of wildness and the human impact on the world is indebted to him. This was first published in 1949, the year after Leopold’s death, but so many of his musings ring true today: how we only appreciate wildlife if we can put an economic value on it, the troubles we get into when we eradicate predators and let prey animals run rampant, and the danger o ...more
Jessica McCann
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book provided great inspiration and insight for my current novel-in-progress, which has an environmental element.

It was actually published shortly after the author died of a heart attack, in 1949. Leopold's life was cut far too short, and I can't help but wonder how much further America's conservation efforts might have evolved in the past 50 years had he lived longer. Many of his observations and warnings from the early part of the 1900s still ring true today. In that respect, this book wa
...more
Rise
Sep 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.

So simple and so direct that one was struck by how obvious these statements are, and yet these words seemed like a newly discovered insight, especially as they came logically after a series of vivid expositions on nature and natural history. Nature is beautiful and if we preserve it, we truly deserve it. If we destroy it, we are killjoys. Simple as that.

A f
...more
MsBrie
May 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Are you one of those people who actually likes to read Thoreau? Well then you’re missing out! Aldo Leopold is sooooo much better. Leopold’s writing is poetic yet it also calls the common person to action. Likewise Leopold walks the walk when it comes to protecting the environment. While this book didn’t pass the random page test, if you like authors like Thoreau, then you should definitely check out The Sand County Almanac, which is the bible to environmentalists. First Page: There are some who ...more
Cheryl
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Even though my parents owned few books and yet did own this, I never got around to it. And maybe as a child I wouldn't have enjoyed it so much. But now, goodness, I recognize that it belongs on the same shelf as Thoreau, Rachel Carson, Bernd Heinrich, and Michael Perry. The man is indeed a hero for the conservation movement, and writes beautifully.

Wisconsin's wilderness, and the nation's perception of the value wilderness and of diverse ecosystems, owes much to him. We have made progress s
...more
Carol Smith
This is a difficult book to rate.

On the one hand, there is incredible value to be gained from the author's keen sense of observation. The first set of essays, the Sand County Almanac, takes us through a year of observing nature at work on Leopold's farm. He discovers firsthand how certain plants fare better when collocated. He bands chickadees and later discovers the bands in the pellets of a screech owl. He gains broad insights from small things that most of us pass by every day without consid
...more
Dnicebear
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In honor of re-reading this book I take an hour walk in my neighborhood before I write my review. Behind the loud barking of too many dogs and below the many paved roads and above the blooming non-native eucalyptus and acacia I hear the trilling of the junco and call of red shouldered hawk. I see light sparkling on a natural stream that flows open to the air. I smell the Douglas fir, and I feel the sun pouring out her loving warmth and light. I envision bat houses and blooming native plants at t ...more
jeremy
Sep 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature
it is a shame that some of the most important and beloved books become also the most neglected. taken for granted, these works are thus robbed of both majesty and worth (to say nothing of efficacy). it's as if certain books are deemed classic and then left to impart their wisdoms from atop a dusty shelf.

a sand county almanac is roundly acknowledged as one of the most seminal titles in the nature/conservation/environmental writing genre, and like all great books it remains imperatively relative
...more
Kerri Anne
I want to tie this book to my heart like a kite and fly it daily. I want to know my grandfather and father found Leopold long before I did. I want the chance to talk to them about it, about conservation, about the way they taught me so much by letting me watch the way they loved and respected the woods, the lake, the pristine heartbeat of our wild places. I want to memorize full chapters to be able to recite them to the trail on long runs, my legs becoming one with the timeless stories only tree ...more
Jayme
There are three parts to this book. The first, 'A Sand County Almanac', is the prettiest part. Mostly essays about Leopold's love and connection with nature throughout his life. The second part, 'Sketches Here and There', is exactly that, essays about the places he has spent time in and his reflections on how we use and abuse these places. The last part, 'The Upshot', is the hardest writing. Here Leopoldo puts his background in forestry and wildlife management to use describing what's happening ...more
Angie Curtis
May 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful, inspiring, and passion driven is just a few words I would use to describe this book. Anyone who doubts the importance of conservations needs to read this book. I loved the book but it takes it made me cry, made me rage and made me question a lot of things. His words were powerful and really made me think about what I believe and how I impacted the world I lived in. You could feel so much in his words and on passage in particular will stay with me forever. " We reached the old wolf in t ...more
John
May 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nature-lovers
Shelves: non-fiction
Passionate, thoughtful and with an eye for subtle beauty, Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac (much like Rachel Carson's Silent Spring) is a Bible for the modern environmental movement. His writing combines the acute perceptivity of the scientist with the holistic understanding of the conservationist. He preached the gospel of conservation before it was popular to do so; at a time when the memories of buffalo and passenger pigeons still swarmed like fruit flies over the collective guilty consci ...more
Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership
One of Cambridge Sustainability's Top 50 Books for Sustainability, as voted for by our alumni network of over 3,000 senior leaders from around the world. To find out more, click here.

Written from an experiential perspective, with a style that is often poetic, the main message of A Sand County Almanac is that the land is not there to serve us, but that we need to live in community with the land. Community without land is empty, so by threatening the land we are threatening community. The land, th
...more
Richard Reese
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Aldo Leopold’s book, A Sand County Almanac, is near the top of many lists of environmental classics. It was published in 1949, and has sold over two million copies. He was born in Iowa in 1887, when Earth was inhabited by just 1.4 billion humans. It was an era before radio, television, automobiles, airplanes, computers, DDT, nuclear fission, and antibiotics. Most roads were dirt. Vast ancient forests still thrived. On the first page, Leopold informs us that this is a book for people who cannot l ...more
Mike Mensing
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The war between the forest and prairie, the return of geese every March and cutting down a tree for firewood; these are just some of the things that Aldo Leopold writes about in his novel A Sand County Almanac. The novel is split into four distinct parts, but every part of the book is about the environment, either how to save it or the author’s experiences of it. Most of the book is about Aldo’s experiences in the wilderness, which are split between his cabin in Wisconsin and his many trips thro ...more
Sandie
Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I had to read this book for a middle childhood education class that integrated social studies and science. We had to read this book for our final exam and write 8 responses to 8 quotes we found in the book. Simple enough. But I put off reading this book because I thought it would be boring and statistical. To my surprise, I actually loved it. It was more than just a capture of the goings on at the author's farm in Wisconsin; it blended history and societal downfalls that are threatening to disso ...more
Nancy
Oct 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who cares about our world
Recommended to Nancy by: friend
I was overwhelmed and saddened by the information in this book. Even back in the early part of the century, the environment was in serious trouble. I worry about the future of our planet...with all we know about the rhythmns of the natural world...humans continue to destroy the wonders of our world. From aerial wolf killing in Alaska (thanks, Sarah Palin), to the trashing of the world by amazing amounts of garbage (WALL-E)...well things don't look good for future generations. Everyone should rea ...more
Joel
An optimist might easily describe Aldo Leopold, along with John Muir and Henry Thoreau, as a pioneer species in the eventual succession of modern environmentalism. To the pessimist he remains a shunned prophet, whose advice was relevant at its conception, continues to be so, and yet is repeatedly ignored. No wonder the cry of the eco-warrior resounds ever more desperately! The work for which Leopold is most famous, A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There, was first published in 1949, t ...more
Caroline
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a delightful surprise!

I took an environmental science class in high school and as part of the class we had to read one environmental science book from a provided list. I ended up picking a super boring book about sea ice* whose title I don't remember. But, I remember seeing A Sand County Almanac as one of the options and being intrigued by the title. Also, it was written by a man called Aldo Leopold, which is just an awesome name. Between those two things, this book managed to stick itself
...more
Matt Cline
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sheri
Sep 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
So we started this today as a family read-aloud. The goal is a chapter (corresponding to a month) a day for the next 12 days.January thoughts. I liked the narcissistic representation of the animals. Each is incapable of noticing the others; I found the economic description of the meadow mouse's tunnels under the snow and the grass buried in ground especially entertaining.February is all about the felling of an oak tree. I have a burr oak in my backyard that is 200+ years old; as Leopold travels ...more
Ticklish Owl
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a child, I read what my father read, eschewing the anemic books intended for those my age. I was fortunate in that regard, as my father was interested in a great many things. My first reading of A Sand County Almanac has remained vivid in my memory—perched in a tree, a battered metal canteen cool against my side, and the overwhelming sense of the world being a wonderful, mysterious, magical place. Be gentle with living things, explore, observe, be kind.

If you have even a passing interest in n
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
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  • The Singing Wilderness
  • Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas
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  • Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness
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Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) had lasting impact on natural resource management and policy in the early to mid-twentieth century and his influence has continued to expand since his death. It was through his observation, experience, and reflection at his Wisconsin river farm that he honed the concepts of land health and a land ethic that have had ever-growing influence in the years since his death. He p ...more
More about Aldo Leopold...

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“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” 246 likes
“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.” 173 likes
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