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Audubon program will feature Aldo Leopold biopic green fire

The Yosemite Area Audubon Society and Melissa Odell, partner biologist with Point Blue Conservation Science and the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Mariposa, will host a screening of the Emmy Award-winning feature-length documentary Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time on Thursday, Feb. 12, on 6th Street in downtown Mariposa. The program will be held at the Mariposa Methodist Church parish hall in downtown Mariposa at 7 p.m.

A legendary conservationist, wilderness advocate and ecologist, Aldo Leopold is perhaps best known for promoting a “land ethic,” his vision of a community that cares about both people and land. “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect,” he penned in his landmark book A Sand County Almanac.

Green Fire highlights Leopold’s extraordinary multifaceted career and explains how his ideas—still relevant today—were instrumental in shaping the modern conservation movement. “Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land,” he wrote. The film portrays how his vision ties together a wide range of modern conservation concerns and offers inspiration and insight for the future, inspiring individuals and organizations working to connect people and land at the local level and to put his land ethic in action in a multitude of ways.

The Aldo Leopold Foundation, the Center for Humans and Nature and the U.S. Forest Service jointly produced the film.

As a local partner biologist for the Rangeland Watershed Initiative, Odell helps facilitate the partnership between Point Blue and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Mariposa County. She works side by side with NRCS staff to provide technical and financial assistance to private landowners under NRCS Farm Bill habitat incentive programs, focusing on improving wildlife conservation, watershed health, land stewardship, and habitat quality on rangelands, forests and mountain meadows of the Sierra foothills.

Odell will briefly discuss her work and its benefits to Mariposa County during her presentation.

Melissa grew up in the central Sierra foothills of Madera County. She completed a B.S. in Wildlife Management & Conservation from Humboldt State University in 2005, followed by an M.S. in Avian Sciences from the University of California, Davis in 2009. Her masters thesis focused on waterbird response to wetland management in the central San Joaquin Valley.

She has worked in a wide variety of habitats, gaining experience in conservation and management of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, including threatened and endangered species of California. Her research interests include avian and amphibian conservation, habitat management, and conservation of open spaces and working lands.

Like all YAAS programs, Odell’s presentation is open and free to the public, although donations to defray program costs and to support Audubon’s local activities are welcome.

The YAAS will also offer a free field trip to the University of California, Merced, Vernal Pool and Grassland Reserve on Saturday, Feb. 21. Participants will meet at the Mariposa rest area just off Highway 140 in town, adjacent to the Mariposa Museum and History Center, at 7:45 a.m. to carpool. The trip is open to the public and suitable for beginners. Bring binoculars, field guides, lunch, snacks and beverages. Dress in layers, bring rain gear and wear comfortable, waterproof walking shoes.

Call (209) 742-5579 or visit www.yosemiteaudubon.org for more information about the program or the field trip.

The mission of the National Audubon Society, the namesake of noted 19th-century naturalist and bird painter John James Audubon; its state affiliate, Audubon California; and local chapters such as the Yosemite Area Audubon Society is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.

- Yosemite Area Audubon Society

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