Husband, Thomas [faculty advisor, Department of Natural Resources Science]




South County, wildlife, nature


Since its publication in 1949, “A Sand County Almanac: With Sketches Here and There” has served as the benchmark for writing about the environment and nature. “Sand County” was written by famed environmentalist Aldo Leopold, who for most of his lifetime worked towards the conservation of wildlife and natural resources. In “Sand County,” Aldo Leopold recounts his experiences and observations in various essays and journal entries from his many years of living in Wisconsin, as well his travels across the North American continent. With its publication after Mr. Leopold’s death, it changed the face of the American conservation movement, later inspiring other writers during the large scale environmental movement of the 60’s. Transcending similar efforts by others, though, is the beauty and ease in which Mr. Leopold describes such activities as traveling through time by studying tree rings, hiking in the shadows of the great mountain, and the travels of a lonely skunk in winter. These are not just mere stories: they are unique and beautiful memoirs written with a skill unparalleled even today. Mr. Leopold lays out his personal views on conservation and protection of nature in his supplementary section “The Land Ethic.”

In the vein of Aldo Leopold’s masterpiece, I have similarly set out to explore and document the natural wonders of southern Rhode Island. The physical similarities between Leopold’s Sand County and our South County are limited, but the opportunities for exploration and discovery remain ripe for the taking. Inspired by his words and meaning, I have explored South County for the past four years in my time at the University of Rhode Island. In five different chapters, I will recount my varied adventures around South County, from the southern shores of Block Island, through the Great Swamp on the South County Bike Trail, into the woods of Burlingame State Park, and to the beaches of Westerly and elsewhere. Every chapter is divided into two sections: one section being devoted to my personal memories and experiences, with the second half describing a particular environmental issue or topic that demands further attention.

It is my intention that “A South County Almanac” serve as a starting point for those interested in nature and wildlife in southern Rhode Island. That my collection of memories and stories, echoing those of environmental leader Aldo Leopold, may help to inspire and nurture the passion and love for nature that already exists for many living in South County would be a gift to future generations and our lovely South County as well.