The life and contributions of wildlife ecology pioneer Aldo Leopold are showcased in a new documentary, Green Fire, which gets its West Coast premiere Monday, Feb. 28, at Berkeley’s Pacific Film Archive theater.
The film’s title draws on the epochal moment in Leopold’s life, when the young ranger witnessed the “fierce green light” in a dying wolf’s eyes flare and fade out — and experienced an instant conversion to a land ethic. It tells the tale of how Leopold grew from an Iowa farm boy who loved to hunt into a legendary forester, educator, environmental advocate and pivotal figure in the conservation movement of the first half of the 20th century.
Two of his sons went on to become distinguished professors in conservation fields at Berkeley, zoologist and wildlife ecologist A. Starker Leopold and his younger brother Luna Leopold, a hydrologist. The older brother established Berkeley’s Sagehen Creek Field Station north of Truckee in 1951 for natural science research and education, and his name now graces a chair in wildlife biology in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, currently held by conservation biology professor Steven Beissinger.
Sagehen is co-sponsoring Monday’s Green Fire premiere. The 5:30 p.m. screening was all but sold out as of Thursday (tickets are free but seats had to be reserved). But a second screening at 7:30 p.m. is first-come-first-served, with seat allocation starting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, according to Sagehen director Jeff Brown.