John Muir: A Legacy of Environmental Conservation.
John Muir was one of the most important figures in the environmental history of the United States and the preservation of its beauty. He is rightly regarded as one of the fathers of the modern conservation movement and his name is a source of inspiration to naturalists the world over. His resolve to safeguard America's natural wonders created a solid foundation for his everlasting love of the outdoors. Muir took a stand against the harmful side of society in a courageous battle to save America's forestlands. Through his literary, philosophical and activist influence, John Muir has left behind a contribution of environmental conservation that has given numerous people an opportunity to experience nature's splendor.
John Muir was born on April 21, 1838 in the small country town of Dunbar, Scotland. As a boy, Muir was "fond of everything that was wild" and took great pleasure in the outdoors (Muir 30). In 1849, Muir and his family immigrated to Wisconsin to homestead. The great forests of Northern United States captivated him and fueled his passion to learn more. Muir later enrolled in courses in chemistry, geology, and botany at the University of Wisconsin. After his education, Muir began working in a factory inventing small machines and gadgets. However, a serious accident in the factory left Muir temporarily blind. When his vision finally returned, he vowed to live life to its fullest and dedicate all he had to the preservation of nature.
At the age of 29, Muir made a thousand-mile walk from Indianapolis to Florida for the sheer delight of being outdoors. This experience enlightened Muir and compelled him to extend his travels. With his family's blessing (his wife and two daughters), he began to roam America's forests, mountains, valleys, and meadows at length. Alone and on foot, he filled notebooks with drawings and descriptions of the plants, animals, and trees that he loved.