A Historical Historic Event- America’s Holy Trinity of Conservation

An event that markets itself as “A Historical Historic Event” is bound to catch my attention. As a self-avowed history geek I sure am glad that it did. America’s Holy Trinity of Conservation is one of my most anticipated events of 2017.

I had never imagined that I would have the opportunity to meet Aldo Leopold, John Muir, and Henry David Thoreau. If I had, the thought would have been quickly dismissed since the men passed away in 1948, 1914, and 1862, respectively. Thanks to America’s Holy Trinity of Conservation organizers and living historians Jim Pfitzer, Lee Stetson, and Richard Smith we can engage and interact with the three conservation legends at Prairie Star Restoration Farm near Bland, Missouri June 2nd and 3rd, 2017.

America's Holy Trinity of Conservation
America’s Holy Trinity of Conservation


Dr. J. Baird Callicott, an American philosopher, connected the three men and labeled them the Holy Trinity of the American conservation movement. Callicott has said that all modern-day conservationist stand on the shoulders of these three giants in American conservation.


“Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.”

Leopold was an American author, ecologist, forester, conservationist, environmentalist, and scientist. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin and is best known for his book, A Sand County Almanac (1949), which has sold more than two million copies. Leopold was influential in the development of modern environmental ethics and in the movement for wilderness and wildlife conservation. His ethics of nature and wildlife management had a profound impact on the environmental movement, with his ecocentric ethics regarding land.

Aldo Leopold, 1877 - 1948
Aldo Leopold


“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

Muir was a naturalist, author, environmental philosopher and early advocate of preservation in the wilderness in the United States. Today, he is referred to as the “Father of the National Parks” and is considered to be “one of the patron saints of twentieth century American environmental activity. In his life, Muir published six volumes of writings, all describing explorations of natural settings. They have had a lasting effect on the American culture. Muir’s work helped to create the movement to protect and preserve wild and natural environments.

U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt (left) and nature preservationist John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, on Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. In the background: Upper and lower Yosemite Falls.


“What good is a house if you don’t have a tolerable planet to put it on.”

Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, critic, surveyor and historian. Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings. Among his lasting contributions are his writings on natural history and philosophy, where he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern-day environmentalism. It has been said that Walden is America’s first primer of the environmental movement.




Pfitzer’s work has been called “avant-garde and old fashioned at the same time.” Jim’s show, Aldo Leopold- A Standard of Change, continues to find success around the country in theaters, conferences, universities and festivals.

Pfitzer as Leopold. Courtesy of America's Holy Trinity of Conservation.
Pfitzer as Leopold. Courtesy of America’s Holy Trinity of Conservation.


For the past 35 years, Stetson has produced interpretive stage productions focusing on the themes of land use, environmental ethics and the concept of engaging wilderness through the works of Muir’s.

Stetson as Muir. Courtesy of America's Holy Trinity of Conservation.
Stetson as Muir. Courtesy of America’s Holy Trinity of Conservation.


Smith is as about as close as you can get to a modern-day disciple of the man himself. For almost 20 years he has been portraying Thoreau at Walden Pond, dressing up in meticulous 19th century regalia, fielding questions (in the first person) from the public, about the man’s personal life and politics in 19th century Concord. Massachusetts.

Smith as Thoreau. Courtesy of America's Holy Trinity of Conservation.
Smith as Thoreau. Courtesy of America’s Holy Trinity of Conservation.


The evening of Friday, June 2nd will be a special opportunity to enjoy an intimate social and dinner, in the company of the three reenactors of America’s iconic conservation leaders, and local wildlife and environmental professionals and champions. Saturday will be a busy day full of historic conservation activities and experiences. Pfitzer, as Leopold, will present Aldo Leopold- A Standard of Change.” Stetson, as Muir, will present “A Stroll with John Muir.” Smith, as Thoreau, will present “What I Lived For.” Participants will take a self-guided walking tour to meet and greet Leopold, Muir, and Thoreau. The trail (moderately difficult) leads to recreated structures of the three icons.

Prairie Star Restoration Farm has recreated iconic structures associated with Leopold, Muir, & Thoreau.
Prairie Star Restoration Farm has recreated iconic structures associated with Leopold, Muir, & Thoreau.


As I mentioned earlier, America’s Holy Trinity of Conservation is one of the events that I am most looking forward to in 2017. I have purchased tickets for the Friday night dinner with the reenactors (in character) and will also be attending Saturday’s activities. I plan to attend all three presentations and am also looking forward to the hike (and photo opportunities) to all three recreated shelters. This event should especially appeal to those interested in history and conservation. Saturday’s activities should especially appeal to families and those looking for an educational opportunity for children. Photographers will be pleased with photo opportunities that Prairie Star Restoration Farm holds, especially the recreated shelters, as well as the opportunity to photograph Pfitzer, Stetson, and Smith as Leopold, Muir, & Thoreau. It is, after all, “A Historical Historic Event” that should be on everyone’s calendar to attend.

To purchase your tickets, and for more information please visit www.holytrinityofconservation.com.

Holy Trinity Poster2-6-2017

*A majority of content in this article was taken directly from America’s Holy Trinity of Conservation marketing materials and authorship credit belongs to the event’s organizing committee.

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