John Muir's Connection to Wisconsin
John Muir was an engineer, naturalist and writer. He was also the father of the Modern Ecology Movement and the founder of the Sierra Club. So how is it that a man who was born in Scotland and lived, worked and died in California gave his name to the Wisconsin chapter of the Sierra Club? Answer: Muir spent his “boyhood and youth”—those tremendously important and formative years spanning childhood through young adulthood—in our state.
After his family emigrated from Scotland to a farm outside Portage in 1849, the young Muir got his start as one of the first modern preservationists. Years of closely observing the wonders of nature throughout rigorous farm life carried him into his first botany lesson as a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. These years formed the base of what would become his preservation philosophy and his lifelong work of preserving the wilderness. Then—as now--there was the conflict between preservation (of the land because of its inherent spiritual and uplifting value) versus conservation (managing the land for sustainable commercial use.) It is important to recognize that both sides oppose the exploitation of natural resources.
In 1892 Muir helped found the Sierra Club and was its first president, thus starting the first worldwide conservation movement. Throughout his 22 years of work with the Sierra Club, Muir wrote on behalf of preservation, continuing his quest to preserve and defend the wonders of our natural world. The Wisconsin chapter of the Sierra Club is proud to bear his name and continue his work.
NEW! Purchase Through the Eyes of John Muir posters or notecards and Support the Bureau of Endangered Resources Artist Janet Flynn has created an original watercolor, Through the Eyes of John Muir, depicting the boyhood home of John Muir. Beautiful, limited edition prints of this watercolor are currently available throught the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Click here to see an image of the print.
Available in two sizes, the signed limited-edition prints will make a great gift for any occasion. In addition, a beautiful poster and note cards complete the line. The image depicts a variety of native species of plants and animals in rich vibrant colors. Proceeds from this select line of products helps the Endangered Resources Program continue its work. The Endangered Resources Program protects native plant and animal species and the ecosystems on which they depend. To view ordering options, or to place an order, view the order form
Read the Sierra Club biography of John Muir (requires Adobe Acrobat reader)