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15 Earth Day Conservationists you should probably Thank!

Do you like Nature? 15 Conservationists you need Thank. 

Below is a quick write up of who they are, what they did, why you should care. If not for these people the world would be a much different place, most likely a terrible place. We are responsible for this planet and the flora and fauna of it. At Karmik Outdoors this is not something we give lip service to but actually make important decisions with that notion of responsibility at the top of our mind. The founder, Robert Gillingham is a lifelong outdoor enthusiast and has degree from the University of Nevada, Reno in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Biology. After college he spent many years in conservation sciences. It is our honor to bring this list to you. 

Here are 15 important conservationists who have made significant contributions to the field of conservation and to your life whether you know it or not.

1. Rachel Carson: American marine biologist and author of “Silent Spring” which sparked a national debate about the use of pesticides and led to the banning of DDT in the United States. It also inspired the formation of environmental organizations such as the Environmental Defense Fund and Greenpeace, and is credited with helping to launch the modern environmental movement.

Rachel Carson’s book helped us to realize the effects of bio-magnification of toxins in humans.

2. Aldo Leopold: American ecologist and author of “A Sand County Almanac,” which promoted the idea of “land ethics” and the importance of preserving wilderness. Heralded as the Father of “Modern Wildlife Management”.

Aldo was a true naturalist who wanted to help people understand nature and farming in a deeper way.

3. Jane Goodall: British primatologist and anthropologist who has spent her life studying and advocating for the conservation of chimpanzees and their habitats. Over the years, Goodall has also been a vocal advocate for animal welfare, conservation, and environmental sustainability.

Conservation of animals begins by conserving their habitat.

4. E.O. Wilson: American biologist and author who has advanced the field of biodiversity research and conservation biology. Very prominent ecologist (antman), biologist, entomologist sometimes called “Darwin’s protégé” and “Father of Biodiversity” through his many contributions to scientific research. 

His monikers are well deserved based on his scientific accolades. His life is full of amazing scientific accomplishments.

5. Wangari Maathai: Kenyan environmental and political activist. In 1977, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an organization that focused on promoting environmental conservation, sustainable development, and women’s rights through planting trees, and providing education and resources to communities in Kenya. She was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, in recognition of her efforts to promote sustainable development, democracy, and peace.

“It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.” – Wangari Maathai

6. David Attenborough: British naturalist and broadcaster who has produced numerous documentaries on wildlife and the environment, and has been a vocal advocate for conservation. If you do some digging you will see he is not simply a TV personality or documentary narrator, but is a lifelong learner and advocate of the planet earth and the animals on it.

“It’s surely our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth.” – David Attenborough

7. Jane Lubchenco: American marine ecologist and former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who has worked to promote sustainable fisheries and protect marine biodiversity.

The oceans are the controller of our climate and fate of our species. Over half of the human population relies on the ocean one way or another.

8. Sylvia Earle: American marine biologist and oceanographer who has spent her life exploring and studying the ocean, and advocating for its protection. Earle has made over 100 expeditions to explore and study the world’s oceans, including leading the first team of women aquanauts in 1970, and setting a record for the deepest solo dive in 1986. She has also served as the chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and has been a leader in the development of new technologies for ocean exploration and research.

Sylvia Earle is an absolute pioneer and leader in oceanic exploration and studies.

9. Dr. George Schaller: German-American biologist and conservationist who has worked to protect endangered species and their habitats, and has helped establish numerous protected areas around the world. He has spent more than six decades working to protect some of the world’s most endangered species including pandas, tiger, snow leopards, mountain gorillas and more as well as their habitats. He has played a key role in the development of modern conservation biology.

One of my personal conservation idols and real bad ass of a scientist.

10. Theodore Roosevelt: Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States and a passionate conservationist. He established the U.S. Forest Service and created numerous national parks, wildlife refuges, and monuments during his time in office. If you have been to one of our amazing National Parks, you have Mr. Roosevelt to thank for the opportunity.

“While my interest in natural history has added very little to my sum of achievement, it has added immeasurably to my sum of enjoyment in life.” – Theodore Roosevelt

11. John Muir: John Muir was a naturalist and writer who was instrumental in the creation of Yosemite National Park and the preservation of other wilderness areas in the western United States. He co-founded the Sierra Club, which is still a prominent environmental organization today.

“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” – John Muir

12. John James Audubon: John James Audubon was an ornithologist and artist who is known for his detailed illustrations of North American birds. His work helped raise awareness of the importance of wildlife conservation.

Nearly every image or painting of Mr. Audubon shows a shotgun in his hand. Harvesting birds was critical to his understanding of ornithology.

13. William Temple Hornaday: William Temple Hornaday was a zoologist and conservationist who founded the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. He was also the first director of the New York Zoological Park (now known as the Bronx Zoo) and was an advocate for wildlife protection and habitat conservation.

“He who knows the wild animals of the world always travels among friends, and in every land he finds a welcome.” – William Temple Hornaday

14. Gaylord Nelson: Gaylord Nelson was a politician who served as a U.S. Senator and Governor of Wisconsin. He is perhaps best known for his role in founding Earth Day, an annual event that raises awareness about environmental issues.

Senator Nelson with JFK. “The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.” – Gaylord Nelson

15. Gifford Pinchot: Gifford Pinchot was a forester and conservationist who served as the first Chief of the United States Forest Service. He advocated for sustainable forestry practices and the conservation of natural resources for future generations.

“Unless we practice conservation, those who come after us will have to pay the price of misery, degradation and failure for the progress and prosperity of our day.” – Gifford Pinchot

16. Bonus Alfred Russell Wallace: The Charles Darwin you never heard of but really should give credit too. “Father of Biogeography” and critical to the foundation of evolution through natural selection. Discovered “Wallace’s Line” and potentially ‘speciation’ prior to Charles Darwin. His many voyages around the world discovering plants and animals are the foundation of modern natural sciences.

Someone I really admire. The amount of bravery it took to publish his work and findings is immense. “If this is not done, future ages will certainly look back upon us as a people so immersed in the pursuit of wealth as to be blind to higher considerations.” – Alfred Russel Wallace

These individuals, among many others, have made significant contributions to the conservation of the natural world and have inspired countless others to do the same. We are grateful for their contributions as we celebrate Earth Day and continue to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Now go outside.

– Robert Gillingham, Owner of Karmik Outdoors and lover of the outdoors.