George Bird Grinnell

George Bird Grinnell

Inducted 1973

As founder of the first Audubon Society in New York and as a central figure in the fight for the environment, George Bird Grinnell spent a lifetime protecting the land he loved.

After receiving a doctorate in paleontology in 1880, Grinnell took over Forest and Stream, a weekly publication for sportsmen and naturalists. He used the paper as a tool for channeling the growing dissatisfaction of outdoor enthusiasts with dwindling game populations and disappearing habitat into a crusade to conserve natural resources.

To accomplish his goal of ensuring effective enforcement of game laws, Grinnell advocated a game warden system to be financed by small fees from all hunters. The notion that the traditionally free and unstructured activity of hunting must be financially supported by sportsmen themselves and regulated on the state level was a revolutionary concept that would become a cornerstone of game management.

Realizing that the enforcement of game laws was the solution to only half a problem, Grinnell turned his attention to habitat conservation. In 1882, he began an editorial effort to persuade America to manage timberlands efficiently to yield a sustained "crop." He was also drawn to the plight of Yellowstone National Park, launching a campaign to expose Federal neglect and ensure the park against commercialization. Grinnell's efforts attracted the admiration and support of Theodore Roosevelt, an avid reader of Forest and Stream. Before he ascended to the presidency, Roosevelt launched his career as a conservationist by joining Grinnell's battle for Yellowstone. When Roosevelt became president in 1901, the conservation philosophy first formulated by George Bird Grinnell became the basis of the American conservation program.

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