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Wildlands Philanthropy


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About the Author

Tom Butler is the editorial projects director for the Foundation for Deep Ecology, and a long-time conservation activist focused on wilderness and biodiversity. He is a founding board member and current vice president of the Northeast Wilderness Trust, the only land trust in the northeastern United States focused exclusively on protecting forever-wild landscapes. His book Wild Earth: Wild Ideas for a World Out of Balance collected essays from the conservation journal Butler edited from 1997-2005. For Wildlands Philanthropy, he immersed himself in the creation stories of parks, refuges, and nature preserves established over the span of a century. In these tales of struggle and success he found both inspiration and a greater appreciation for the way protected areas have richly affected the American experience, offering blessings of beauty, wildness, and hope to future generations.

A professional nature photographer, editor, and conservationist, Antonio Vizcaino uses beauty to help foster a new culture that respects the value of nature. A Mexican citizen but full-time world traveler, he studied at the International School of Photography in New York, and over the past two decades has published twenty books. He is co-founder of America Natural, a conservation organization that employs landscape photography as its primary means of communication. In 2001 he launched an ongoing expedition to photograph outstanding natural areas from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska. By contributing these images to environmental education campaigns, Vizcaino seeks to increase protection for the extraordinary biodiversity of the Americas. For Wildlands Philanthropy, he photographed forty protected areas in eight countries.

Tom Brokaw headed the NBC Nightly News for more than twenty years, retiring in 2004 as the most watched and most popularly acclaimed network news anchorperson in the United States. Beyond being a television journalist and best-selling author of The Greatest Generation, Brokaw is an avid conservationist and humanitarian, serving on the boards of the American Museum of Natural History and the International Rescue Committee. In 2005 Brokaw was honored with the Robin W. Winks Award for Enhancing Public Understanding of National Parks by the National Parks Conservation Association.


While one can visit a Carnegie library or the Guggenheim Museum, few travelers to California's Muir Woods National Monument or Maine's Acadia National Park know the name of their benefactors. This book is about a different kind of philanthropy, wherein the name of the donor is usually not attached to the donation. Butler (vice president, Northeast Wilderness Trust; Wild Earth) recounts the efforts of individuals to preserve land in its natural state. In nearly 40 stories, he describes areas across America that became state or national parks or preservation refuges over the last 100-plus years. Accompanying each essay are breathtaking photographs (over 165, in full color) of the area by conservationist and photographer Vizcaino (cofounder, America Natural). In many cases, these are large-scale, double-page images. This book does justice to the lands and pays homage to those who had the foresight and the means to preserve these wildlands for the rest of us. Highly recommended for general audiences and public library collections.-Margaret F. Dominy, Drexel Univ. Lib., Philadelphia Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"These remarkable stories of individual initiative should inspire every American to ask-what can I do to help preserve our natural heritage?"
-- Bruce Babbitt, chairman, World Wildlife Fund, and former U.S. Secretary of the Interior
"Conservation philanthropy is an enduring centerpiece of America's civic traditions. Its fruits enrich the lives of every citizen and strengthen our democracy. Thanks to the generosity of individuals, Americans can still find the root of our nation's most fundamental political, cultural, and moral values in those large swaths of wilderness that have been permanently preserved by private philanthropy."
-- Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chairman, Waterkeeper Alliance, and author, Crimes Against Nature
"The greatest legacy we can leave future generations is nature, in all its richness and splendor, providing values that defy conventional measure. This magnificent book stirringly celebrates those great humanitarians who ensure that future generations will remember us not just for what we create, but for what we refuse to destroy."
-- Steve McCormick, president, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and former president, The Nature Conservancy
"So you've amassed your fortune and are in the glow of your golden years. What better way to establish a legacy than to create your own national park that will be a gift to the world and will last a lot longer than any foundation."
-- Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner, Patagonia Inc., and author of "Let My People Go Surfing"
"If visitors to Acadia, the Great Smoky Mountains, or any of several other revered national parks, knew that they owed their experience to the farsighted generosity of an earliergeneration of conservation philanthropists, they would understand the power and potential of giving for nature. Butler and Vizcaino make an eloquent case for continuing the tradition by showcasing the gems of a new generation of privately acquired conservation lands. This splendidly illustrated volume will have you salivating to visit some of the most scenic-and ecologically vibrant-natural areas on our planet."
-- John Terborgh, cofounder of Duke University's Center for Tropical Conservation, and author of "Requiem for Nature"
"Freedom of sprit, a fundamental aspect of America, can be expressed in many ways. Wildlands Philanthropy is an important, beautifully presented collection of personal stories that demonstrate the practical results of abiding generosity, respect for the wild nature that gives us wealth, health and mystery, and love for our Earth and those who are yet to live here."
-- Vance G. Martin, President, The WILD Foundation

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