Happy 176th birthday to John Burroughs! He was a noted naturalist, close friend of Theodore Roosevelt, and a key voice in the early 20th-century conservation movement.
Roosevelt called John Burroughs “Oom John,” using the Dutch term for uncle. They shared a passion for the study of nature and joined in a public campaign against nature writers who took liberties with the facts, the so-called “nature fakers.”
“Theodore Roosevelt felt that in wilderness was the preservation of the American soul,” says presidential historian Douglas Brinkley in this video.
What does it mean to be an American naturalist today? Join Brinkley and a panel of experts on Tuesday, April 9, for a special event about the close links between American identity and natural heritage, as well as the role today’s naturalists can play in conservation.
Theodore Roosevelt articulated a vision of America that emphasized natural places as elements that define a nation’s character and that are foundational to the individual’s rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For citizens today, those notions may be controversial, if not completely remote, from contemporary ideas of America.
On Tuesday, April 9, join Tom Brokaw and a panel of experts for a lively discussion on Conservation, Wilderness, and the American Dream. Tickets available now.
Photo: (c) AMNH/D. Finnin
110 years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt issued an executive order setting aside Pelican Island, Florida, as the very first national wildlife refuge.
Today it remains an essential breeding ground for migratory waterfowl—and one of 561 wildlife refuges overseen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Find out how it’s changed over the last century in our Q&A with Daniel M. Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Eminent ornithologist Frank M. Chapman began his 54-year career at the Museum in 1888. An avid birder from boyhood, Chapman went on to become an influential advocate for conservation.
His message was amplified by his pioneering use of photography and other visual images. An early and enthusiastic nature photographer (the first Kodak camera came to market only in 1888) Chapman owned an assortment of cameras, including this 5x7 Graflex original now on display in the reopened Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall.
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