Sand County Almanac

Prairie Populizer: Curtis and the Leopold Legacy

UW professor Aldo Leopold left a long legacy, both through his own work and through the work of those he taught. One of these was John Curtis MS 1935, PhD 1937, a Leopold protégé who helped develop the idea of prairie restoration. Leopold promoted a philosophy called the Land Ethic — an idea that people should consider “human’s relation to land and to the animals and plants which grow upon it.” He espoused this idea in his seminal book A Sand County Almanac. Curtis developed this idea further. He helped lead a movement toward saving and restoring Wisconsin’s vanishing prairie, and for his efforts, he is memorialized with the Curtis Prairie at the UW Arboretum — the world’s first restored prairie landscape. This sculptural tableau shows the Curtis-Leopold legacy, with a copy of A Sand County Almanac and binoculars for birdwatching.

Book cover image © Oxford University Press