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The Conservation Movement

Between 1850 and 1920, concern for the natural world emerged as a complex and broadly popular political and cultural movement in the United States. Newly urbanized Americans were becomingly increasingly aware of the importance of nature as an economic, aesthetic, and spiritual resource, especially as they became convinced that nature's resources were imperiled by industrialization. This movement led to unprecedented public and private initiatives to ensure the conservation of natural resources and the preservation of wildlife and of land. By the turn of the twentieth century, Wisconsin had become a center of conservation thinking and activity in the United States.... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: Recollections of John Muir in Prairie du Chien, 1860-61.  Recollections of John Muir in Prairie du Chien, 1860-61.
Link to article: Madison boasts the nation's first fish hatchery  Madison boasts the nation's first fish hatchery
Link to article: The CCC tackles forest fires in Northern Wisconsin, 1934  The CCC tackles forest fires in Northern Wisconsin, 1934
Link to article: Increase Lapham surveys Wisconsin's trees, 1858  Increase Lapham surveys Wisconsin's trees, 1858
Link to book: Constitution of the Wisconsin Game Protective Association, 1900  Constitution of the Wisconsin Game Protective Association, 1900
Link to book: A Lake Geneva home becomes a refuge for native plants and birds  A Lake Geneva home becomes a refuge for native plants and birds
Link to book: A Guide to CCC Camps in Wisconsin, 1937  A Guide to CCC Camps in Wisconsin, 1937
Link to book: Progressive-era conservation efforts, 1917-1922  Progressive-era conservation efforts, 1917-1922
Link to book: Wisconsin's earliest forest conservation plea, 1867  Wisconsin's earliest forest conservation plea, 1867
Link to book: The Forestry Commission urges the creation of a state forest system, 1898
  The Forestry Commission urges the creation of a state forest system, 1898
Link to book: A conservation education camp opens in Eagle River  A conservation education camp opens in Eagle River
Link to book: John Nolen drafts a plan for a state park system in 1909  John Nolen drafts a plan for a state park system in 1909
Link to collections: The Killing of Chief Joe White (Gishkitawag), 1894  The Killing of Chief Joe White (Gishkitawag), 1894
Link to images: Increase Lapham examining a meteorite, ca. 1868  Increase Lapham examining a meteorite, ca. 1868
Link to images: Pictures of John Muir  Pictures of John Muir
Link to images: Smokey Bear visits Milwaukee in 1954  Smokey Bear visits Milwaukee in 1954
Link to images: Birdseye view of the first Wisconsin Fish Hatchery  Birdseye view of the first Wisconsin Fish Hatchery
Link to images: A CCC recruitment poster, 1939  A CCC recruitment poster, 1939
Link to images: Pictures of the cutover lands in northern Wisconsin  Pictures of the cutover lands in northern Wisconsin
Link to manuscript: 30 original manuscript letters of John Muir, 1861-1914  30 original manuscript letters of John Muir, 1861-1914
Link to manuscript: A visit to John Muir in his dorm room, ca. 1862.  A visit to John Muir in his dorm room, ca. 1862.
Link to manuscript: John Muir's younger brother recalls their boyhood.  John Muir's younger brother recalls their boyhood.

Primary Sources Available Elsewhere

Link to article: Aldo Leopold evaluates compulsory conservation education, 1937  Aldo Leopold evaluates compulsory conservation education, 1937
Link to article: La Crosse citizens unite to save Grandad Bluff  La Crosse citizens unite to save Grandad Bluff
Link to book: The first textbook on conservation in the United States, 1910  The first textbook on conservation in the United States, 1910
Link to book: Wisconsin Blue Books  Wisconsin Blue Books
Link to book: John Nolen outlines the La Crosse park system in 1911  John Nolen outlines the La Crosse park system in 1911
Link to book: Excerpt from the first conservation textbook, 1910  Excerpt from the first conservation textbook, 1910
Link to book: John Muir describes his youth and early scientific curiosity  John Muir describes his youth and early scientific curiosity
Link to book: John Muir's letters to his Wisconsin mentor  John Muir's letters to his Wisconsin mentor
Link to images: Art work of the Mississippi Valley in 1899  Art work of the Mississippi Valley in 1899

Related Links

Discover classroom resources available from our Office of School Services
Search our catalogs for materials on this topic that aren't yet available online.
Borrow books about this topic through our interlibrary loan service
Borrow manuscripts about this topic through our Area Research Center network.
Learn about other topics from our new book, Wisconsin History Highlights
A history of Wisconsin's State Parks
All John Muir's books online, from the Sierra Club

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