This week we’ve been celebrating the birthday of Aldo Leopold, a fascinating naturalist and father of wildlife ecology. Here in the Badger State, we take immense pride in him. Leopold is described as a conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer and outdoor enthusiast, and he made detailed phenological records throughout his life. If alive today, he would be 130 years old.
Leopold’s birthday is perfect timing for our discussion of creativity and what exactly it is. I say this because we commonly correlate being creative with being artistic, yet the two are actually quite different. Yes, Leopold was artistic in his illustrations and words of nature, but his true creativity was in his thinking. According to his daughter Nina, “he was always looking at the world around him and trying to understand how the plants, and the animals, and the birds all fit together. He was trying to understand how the land system worked.”