Today in Conservation

Resource

Larry Nielsen launches conservation history blog, Today in Conservation.

Giving a speech soon and need the perfect way to start your remarks?  Looking for a topic to energize a 4-H, scouting or day-camp session?  Want a great subject for your classroom bulletin board?  Wondering how to get students to take a more active role in class?

Larry Nielsen’s new website, Today in Conservation, is the resource you’ve been waiting for. Today in Conservation contains a story—or two—for every day of the year about an environmental or conservation event that happened that day, written in Nielsen’s engaging style. Here’s a sample, one from each month:

January 11 – Aldo Leopold was born (1887)
February 8 — Lisa Jackson, first African-American EPA Administrator, born (1982)
March 22 – World Water Day is celebrated annually
April 14 – The “Black Sunday” Dust Storm occurred (1935)
May 7 – Nature’s Best Moms—a Mothers’ Day special
June 20 – Australia protected the Great Barrier Reef  (1975)
July 28 – Beatrix Potter, Author and Conservationist, was born (1866)
August 7 – Elinor Ostrom, Environmental Economist, was born (1933)
September 25 – Pope Francis addressed the UN about the Environment (2015)
October 18 – The Clean Water Act was established (1972)
November 14 – US crushed confiscated elephant ivory for first time (2013)
December 15 – Chico Mendes, Brazilian rainforest advocate, was born (1944)

Each day’s entry includes a short description about the day (400-600 words), photographs and artwork depicting the person, place or thing (all in the public domain, so they are free to use), and several references for more information (and to lead students to more research).

Larry Nielsen retired recently from North Carolina State University, where he had been dean, provost, and distinguished professor.  In 2020, he received the American Fisheries Society Excellence in Education award.  Nielsen says this about the website:

“This has been a labor of love, a way to give back after 40 wonderful years as a professor and natural resource professional.  Over my years of teaching general classes about natural resources and the environment, I gathered together a calendar of significant events in conservation.  After retiring, I was able to fill in the calendar, all 366 days.  Some days I had to stretch the definition of conservation a bit, but, hey, if we can’t have a little fun, we’re not doing it right!”

The array of topics ranges broadly.  Many days feature an important person born on that day, but other days feature the establishment of a national park or other protected area, or the founding of an environmental organization.  Want to read about the first Ford Mustang rolling off the assembly line, or why he put such a thing in an environmental calendar?  Try April 17.  How about when “The Lorax” was published and what Dr. Seuss says about his perspective on logging?  Look up August 12.  And what do you suppose Nielsen covers on February 29?  Nature’s great leapers, of course!

The website also contains special features that cover a longer time-frame.  For example, Nielsen highlights African-American conservation leaders for Black History Month. New special features are added at least monthly, but also whenever conservation history provides a unique “teachable moment.”

Today in Conservation is available (for free, of course) at todayinconservation.com.  To contact Larry Nielsen for more information or an additional interview, please email him at lnielsen409@gmail.com@gmail.com.