Never to Revisit: Aldo Leopold, Eco-Grief, and the Value of Wilderness

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Never to Revisit: Aldo Leopold, Eco-Grief, and the Value of Wilderness

By Aldo Leopold Foundation

"It is the part of wisdom never to revisit a wilderness, for the more golden the lily, the more certain that someone has gilded it. To return not only spoils a trip, but tarnishes a memory." –Aldo Leopold, "The Green Lagoons"

Struck by Leopold’s piece “The Green Lagoons," 2023-24 Future Leaders fellow Maia Buschman became obsessed with understanding just what, exactly, Leopold meant by this quote. With his enduring reputation as someone committed to the land in all forms, particularly in its wildest states, it didn't make sense that he would really suggest never revisiting. But in thinking about her own connections to wild places, Maia couldn't help admitting that sometimes she felt that way, too: tempted to turn away from changed landscapes and a sense of wildness lost. Was it possible that Leopold wasn't telling us to do or not do anything, but instead professing his own ecological grief?

Through her long-form video project "Never to Revisit," Maia explores Leopold's wilderness experiences while inviting folks from different environmental careers to share their connections to wildness and feelings of eco-grief and anxiety. What can we make of Leopold's "never revisiting" wisdom? What role do our own personal experiences of eco-grief play when it comes to wilderness and wildness? And should we revisit - or leave our memories of wilderness untouched?

Join us on July 11th for an interview with Maia and a 25-minute premiere of her video project.

Maia Buschman was a 2023-24 Education & Communications Fellow, and she is continuing to work with the Aldo Leopold Foundation as a Social Media and Communications Associate. She grew up outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and earned a bachelor's in conservation psychology from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. She loves exploring and connecting with places all across the spectrum of wildness. Read more about Maia here:

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