The 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, was known for being the “Father of Conservation,” having created the U.S. Forestry Service in 1905.
“During Roosevelt's time as President, the forest reserves in the U.S. went from approximately 43-million acres to about 194-million acres,” the National Park Service noted
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Speaking in Osawatomie, Kansas, in 1910, Roosevelt was quoted as saying, “I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the nature resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us."
Roosevelt “seemed an unlikely naturalist,” PBS said.
“Inquisitive and single-minded, he would pursue his interests in nature relentlessly for the rest of his life — a pursuit that would impact America's wild places for decades beyond his death.”
Roosevelt traveled to the Middle East in 1872, specifically Syria and Egypt, to hunt birds and further his interest in nature. At the time of this trip, the young Roosevelt was a “skilled taxidermist” and skinned the birds in order to study them better.
“While written in a childish hand, the notebooks in which young Roosevelt logged his studies reflected the zeal with which he pursued Nature,” PBS said. “They contained complete descriptions of the animals collected, including size, sex, place and date collected, habits, and even stomach contents.”
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Roosevelt reportedly turned his Vienna hotel room — where his family traveled after Egypt — into a “virtual zoological laboratory, much to the dismay of the cousin who shared his lodgings.”
In addition to establishing five national parks, Roosevelt also created at least 50 natural habitat refuges, including Florida’s Pelican Island in 1903. According to PBS, "The demand for plumes for women's hats had decimated shorebird populations, and Roosevelt was well aware of the danger of massive extinction. With the stroke of his presidential pen, Roosevelt created Pelican Island Bird Reservation. This was the first, but not by far the last, time Roosevelt would use such power.”
In 1908, Roosevelt declared that the Grand Canyon in Arizona would be a national monument.
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