John Muir is considered the father of conservation because of his preservation efforts and activism that helped save several vital wilderness areas, like Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park. The 19th century naturalist founded the Sierra Club, a well-known grassroots conservation organization that practices and promotes environmental sustainability. Muir’s contributions have helped America preserve its natural habitats and improve many environmental issues.
Aldo Leopoldwas a major contributor to the field of wildlife management. Leopold devoted a great deal of time studying the natural world and investigating ecology and the philosophy of conservation. Leopold applied his knowledge and understanding of wildlife management while working for the U.S. Forest Service in Arizona and New Mexico, as well as the Carson National Forest in New Mexico. Leopold contributed many innovative ideas and holistic approaches to managing American wildlife.
Gifford Pinchot was a forester and conservationist who helped foster a culture of environmental awareness through his knowledge of forestry and strong leadership as the first chief of the United States Forest Service. Pinchot believed in managing forests and protecting wildlife so that it could continue to be appreciated for years and years. Pinchot’s conservation ethics and advocacy forever changed the way United States forests are managed and developed.
Julia Butterfly Hill is an outspoken eco-advocate, who famously performed a tree sit to show her opposition to the destruction of the redwood forests in Humboldt County, California, from 1997 to 1999. During this time, Hill lived atop a massive redwood tree named Luna. She lived in the tree for 738 days, before the Pacific Lumber Company agreed to preserve Luna and other redwoods in the area. Hill has since become a motivational speaker, a best-selling author, and the co-founder of a non-profit social venture called the Engage Network.