Dan is the former executive director of Arizona Humanities, where he worked for nearly 20 years. Since leaving AH, he has co-directed three NEH summer institutes on environmental ethics, given dozens of presentations on place-based economic development, and authored or edited several books, including Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Learning from Indigenous Methods for Environmental Sustainability (Cambridge 2018). A former high school teacher, Dan holds a PhD in literature from ASU. He has served on dozens of commissions and boards, including that of The COsanti Foundation currently ; to acknowledge his many contributions to the state, ASU presented him its most prestigious honor, the Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Forester Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) is justly celebrated as the founding voice of environmental ethics, even though the discipline did not exist when his book, A Sand County Almanac, was published posthumously in 1949. His collection of essays popularized the idea of a “land ethic,” and, like Henry David Thoreau, Leopold eventually became required reading across the curriculum: conservation, philosophy, history, literature. At the time of his death, Aldo Leopold was teaching some of the nation’s first college courses in ecology at the University of Wisconsin, at the same time he and his family were experimenting with land management at “The Shack,” fifty miles north of Madison. Rather than focus on his later Midwestern years, however, this presentation maintains that the seeds of Leopold’s revolutionary thinking can be found in his early years as a forester in Arizona and New Mexico (1909-1924). In particular, the talk explores how Native American attitudes toward the human-nature relationship helped to shape Leopold’s 40-year intellectual journey.