ST. BONAVENTURE, NY -- Less than a dozen students gathered in the Walsh Amphitheater on the last day of February to watch "The Green Fire," a documentary about conservationist Aldo Leopold, who is considered by many to be the father of wildlife ecology.
Throughout the documentary, quotes from Leopold were read to underscore what had been his growing knowledge of the human effect on the environment. Highlighting Leopold's discovery of the wonder of the Sierra Madre of northern Mexico, the narrator read:
“It was here that I first clearly realized that land is an organism, that all my life I had seen only sick land, whereas here was a biota still in perfect aboriginal health. The term ‘unspoiled wilderness’ took on a new meaning.”
As the documentary went on, the narrator read: “Man always kills the thing he loves. And so we the pioneers have killed our wilderness. Some say we had to. Be that as it may, I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in.”
Sophomore history major Joseph Giglio said he had been interested in watching the film because of how much he cares for the environment.
“The documentary was interesting,” Giglio said. “As with all documentaries, it was a little dry and certainly not something most people would want to see. But as someone who is interested in the environment it was very interesting.”
The documentary also helps students remember their freshman Intellectual Journey classes, Kim Majot, the secretary for SBU's First-Year Experience, said.
“It makes a connection back to the ... class that they had as freshmen and the CLAR 401 that is the completion, the continuation, of that journey,” Majot added.
Giglio noted the documentary illustrates how humans can still make a positive impact on the world.
“The documentary paints a really vivid and definitive picture of not only some of the problems people have caused in the environment, but also the power that we have to change things and help repair the earth and how important it is that we do that,” he said.
Majot noted that the documentary and Leopold's discoveries show students the importance of the connection between nature and the world they live in.
“The conservation big picture is important: That it’s not just about one group of people, it’s not about one city," Majot said. "It’s about the land and how everything is connected; how the wildlife, the soil and the water are important to everyone.”