In observance of the United Nations’ International Year of Forests, Virginia Tech will host a free screening of “Green Fire,” a documentary about Aldo Leopold, father of the American conservation and wildlife management movement, on Thursday, Oct. 13. This is the first screening of the groundbreaking film in Virginia.

The event, which was initiated by the College of Natural Resources and Environment and organized by a campus-wide committee, also includes a panel discussion on the global significance of local forests, student poster presentations, a reception, and a talk by Stan Temple, a renowned bird expert and Senior Fellow with the Aldo Leopold Foundation. The program focuses on forests, their benefit to the world, and the conservation pioneer who was moved to protect and manage forests and other natural landscapes.

The free event will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Commonwealth Ballroom at Squires Student Center on the Blacksburg campus.

The International Year of Forests is a celebration of people’s actions to sustainably manage the world’s forests. Leopold is best known for his book “A Sand County Almanac,” acclaimed as a literary landmark in conservation. He called on readers to help create an ecological conscience — a common sense of what is right and wrong when it comes to how we treat the land. “Green Fire” explores Leopold’s life in the 1920s to 1940s and the many ways his land ethic idea continues to be applied around the world today.

The film also highlights people and organizations working to connect humans and the natural world in ways that even Leopold might not have imagined: urban children learning about local foods and ecological restoration, western ranchers who maintain healthy landscapes in cooperative community conservation efforts, and wildlife biologists who are bringing back threatened and endangered species, from cranes to Mexican wolves, to the landscapes where they once thrived.

Produced by the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Center for Humans and Nature, “Green Fire” portrays how Leopold’s vision of a community that cares about both people and land ties these modern conservation stories together and offers inspiration for the future.

As a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Leopold was the nation’s first professor in the field that would become known as wildlife ecology and management. Temple, the Beers-Bascom Professor Emeritus in Conservation, retired in 2007 from the faculty position formerly held by Leopold. Since then, Temple has continued to work with graduate students at the Leopold Institute on conservation projects in 21 different countries, helping to save some of the world’s rarest species.

Over the years, Temple has made important contributions to the study of peregrine falcons, whooping cranes, Andean condors, and many other birds. He has also researched wildlife’s responses to habitat fragmentation and the ecology of avian predators, such as cats.

The schedule for the Oct. 13 event at Squires Student Center is as follows:

  • 4:30-5:45 p.m.: Panel discussion, “Local Forests in a Global Contex,” with speakers
    -- Jesse Overcash, district biologist, U.S. Forest Service
    -- Clyde Kessler, poet, naturalist, Blue Ridge Discovery Center board of directors
    -- Paula Rojas, forestry exchange student, Virginia Tech
  • 5:45-6:30 p.m.: Poster session and reception/light meal with speakers
  • 6:30-8:30 p.m.: Showing of “Green Fire,” with introduction and question-and-answer session by Stan Temple, Beers-Bascom Professor Emeritus in Conservation, University of Wisconsin-Madison

For more information, visit Virginia Tech’s International Year of Forests website or blog.

Free parking is available in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Streets, in the Architecture Annex Lot on Otey Street, and the Perry Street/Prices Fork lots. A visitor’s parking pass, available from the Visitor Information Center at 965 Prices Fork Road, is required if arriving before 5 p.m. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200. Parking is also available in the Kent Square parking garage or the Farmers Market metered parking lot, both located on Draper Road. Additional Downtown Blacksburg parking information can be found online.

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