Saving Eden: Founding ideas in the ecological approach to National Park protection in the United States and New Zealand, 1930-1965 presented by Ted Catton
Date: Wednesday 9 May 2012
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Location: Room 311, History Building
Contact: For further information regarding this event, please contact Dr Chris Jones by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Ext. 6289
Audience: University staff and students
The science of ecology began to exert a significant influence on national park policy in both the United States and New Zealand in the 1930s. In a seminal report for the U.S. National Park Service,
wildlife biologist George M. Wright argued that a fundamental aim of national park management was to protect the area’s original assemblage of animal species. Native species should be encouraged, and exotic species should be controlled. The Park Service soon began applying the native/exotic dichotomy to management of fish, plant life, and forest pathogens as well as wildlife. In a report commissioned by Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall in 1963, zoology professor A. Starker Leopold elaborated on Wright’s ideas, giving the National Park Service one of its most important directives of the twentieth century. Paralleling these developments in the U.S., the Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand argued as a basic principle of national park policy that “Native plants and animal life should as far as possible be preserved, and introduced plant and animal life should as far as possible be exterminated.” The idea was carried into the National
Parks Act 1952 and upheld by a government-commissioned report on noxious animal control in 1965. The U.S. and New Zealand national park policies, while nearly identical in conception, took
force in different ecological, cultural, and institutional contexts.
TED CATTON, is a visiting Fulbright Fellow in the Geography Department. He comes to UC from the University of Montana, where he is Associate Research Professor in the History Department.
For most of his career he has worked outside of the university setting as a Park Service historian, consultant, and independent scholar. His publications include Inhabited Wilderness: Indians,
Eskimos, and National Parks in Alaska (University of New Mexico Press, 1997) and National Park, City Playground: Mount Rainier in the Twentieth Century (University of Washington Press, 2005),
and over a dozen book-length studies produced for the National Park Service.