Glen Canyon Lecture Series Presents
“Aldo Leopold and the Grand Canyon” by Bryan Bates
Thursday, May 16, 2013, 7:00 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time) at Carl Hayden Visitor Center at Glen Canyon Dam.
Aldo Leopold is perhaps America’s most influential naturalist. Born in Illinois and educated at Yale’s School of Forestry, he arrived in Holbrook, Arizona, in 1909 and proceeded on horseback to New Mexico, where he began his U.S. Forest Service career. There, he recognized the need for soil conservation and for helping the American public understand that nature is a community of interlinked components. Leopold would later convert his life experiences in the Southwest and elsewhere into his immortal book A Sand County Almanac.
Bryan Bates was fortunate to have parents who enjoyed the outdoors and would take him (and family) camping during the summers. He became involved in a Boy Scout troop that went camping each month, even during the winter. Bryan was often on those winter campouts where he learned there is no cold that friendship cannot warm. During his college summers, Bryan worked as a backpacking, fishing, and general naturalist camp counselor near Crested Butte, Colorado for nine summers. In the small library at Skyland Camp was a beat up book titled, Sand County Almanac, by a fellow named Aldo. Little did Bryan recognize at the time how significant this book would become in his life as it introduced him to a different way of thinking about the natural world, one that deepened his boyhood camping experience.
Leopold’s, and other naturalist’s writings, later led Bates to guiding for such organizations as the Grand Canyon Association, National Geographic, Smithsonian Institute, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Bryan continued his interest in nature through his study of aquatic ecosystems, and earned his Master’s degree in Environmental Science from University of Illinois, Springfield. While teaching at Rough Rock Schools on the Navajo Reservation, he followed up on his earlier love of chemistry during summers at NAU, and then committed to a more in-depth study of acid rain chemistry. Bryan has taught science at numerous different high schools from a private academy in Idaho to starting the high school program for at-risk Native students at Leupp. Out of his work with Native kids he developed an interest in science within native cultures and archaeoastronomy. Currently, Bryan teaches numerous sciences at Coconino Community College, and has served on the Board of the Flagstaff Festival of Science for the past 15+ years.