By the Numbers: ‘A Sand County Almanac’ Turns 70

“There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot.” So begins the foreword to Aldo Leopold’s conservation classic, A Sand County Almanac, which is 70 years old this year.


The number of years it took for Aldo Leopold to write his conservation classic.


The number of languages into which the book has been translated. They are Czech, Chinese, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.


The record number of geese counted by the Leopolds on their Sauk County, Wisconsin, farm on April 11, 1946. “On our farm we measure the amplitude of our spring by two yardsticks: the number of pines planted, and the number of geese that stop,” Leopold wrote in A Sand County Almanac.


The year Leopold was caught in a freezing rainstorm that turned into a blizzard. He contracted an inflammatory disease that nearly killed him. During his slow recovery, he began to think more about resource management and the land ethic that resulted in his most well-known work.


The year the Ecological Society of America elected Leopold its president.


The year A Sand County Almanac was first published. Leopold had submitted the manuscript – first called Great Possessions – to Oxford University Press. One week after the press agreed to publish the book, Leopold died of a heart attack on April 21, 1948, while fighting a grass fire on a neighbor’s farm. The book was renamed after his death.

2 million

The number of copies of the book that have been printed.