Timothy Egan

This week’s annual Jordahl Public Lands Lecture is hosted by the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and proudly supported by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin.

This year’s lecture, which is tonight, features Timothy Egan, a writer and columnist whose focus has been on American landscapes. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, a popular columnist, and a National Book Award-winning author. His free public lecture is titled “Still the Geography of Hope: How Public Land Can Restore the Soul, and the Environmental Movement.” The talk is tonight, Thursday, October 22 at 7 p.m. at the Monona Terrace.

The lecture series is named after the late Harold “Bud” Jordahl, who has an important legacy of conservation in Wisconsin. He helped create much of the conservation policy framework that has shaped Wisconsin, such as the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center.

Apostle Island

Apostle Islands Maritime Cliffs (photo by Josh Mayer)

Jordahl began working for the Wisconsin Conservation Department as a district game manager in the 1950s, where he began his lifelong passion for public land. His career spanned director positions with the Department of Resource Development—the precursor to the modern day Department of Natural Resources—and the Secretary of the Interior, where he was regional coordinator of the Upper Mississippi-Western Great Lakes Area. During the 1960s, he helped establish the St. Croix and Namekagon rivers as wild and scenic under federal legislations, and created the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. He eventually became a professor of UW-Madison’s urban and regional planning department, served on the Natural Resources Board, and even helped create the first Earth Day with Gaylord Nelson.

In addition to being a champion for conservation, Jordahl is remembered as being a great mentor and advocate for the conservation of the public lands that make Wisconsin such a remarkable place. His hard work to protect Wisconsin’s lands is an important reminder that any individual can make a difference. Jordahl was inducted into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame in 2005. The Jordahl Public Lands Lecture Series was established to honor his legacy and spur conservation thought and action into the future.