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Conservationist Nina Leopold Bradley, 'the vision and force' behind Aldo Leopold Center, dies at 93

Conservationist Nina Leopold Bradley, 'the vision and force' behind Aldo Leopold Center, dies at 93

Nina Leopold Bradley
Nina Leopold Bradley, daughter of naturalist Aldo Leopold, died Wednesday at her home in Baraboo at the age of 93.

Buddy Huffaker will remember Nina Leopold Bradley as a visionary who inspired many to respect the world in which they live.

"Nina's greatest attribute was her ability to connect with and charm people of all ages and backgrounds," said Huffaker, executive director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation. "She entertained and engaged foreign dignitaries, including the Princess of Japan, as well as local elementary school children — all of whom walked away interested and committed to conservation." 

Bradley, 93, died Wednesday at her home in Baraboo.

She was the middle of five children to Aldo and Estella Leopold. Aldo Leopold is the renowned author of "A Sand County Almanac," which was inspired by the Leopold family's restoration of a worn-out farm in the town of Fairfield along the Wisconsin River.

Bradley grew up in Madison and attended UW-Madison. She conducted research from Hawaii to Botswana on wildlife issues with her first husband, William Elder, Huffaker said.

"She was the real vision and force behind the development of the Aldo Leopold Center," Huffaker said. "Since the 1970s, when she and her late husband, Charles, moved to the Baraboo area, the two began a program of ecological research, restoration and education and trained and inspired individuals that are now leaders in conservation and science all across the country."

Estella Leopold Jr., the youngest daughter of Aldo Leopold, said she always admired her sister's work in conservation.

"She was a special leader in conservation work," Leopold said. "She earned many honors in her lifetime. She was a well-known speaker at conservation conventions all over America."

Howard Mead, vice president of the Aldo Leopold Nature Center, said he met Bradley in the early 1960s.

Mead was part of the group that started the Leopold Reserve — nearly 2,000 acres of land surrounding the Aldo Leopold Shack, a rehabilitated chicken coop in which Aldo Leopold and his family would spend their summers.

"She was one of the most gracious and unforgettable people I have known," Mead said. "She could always draw others in when she spoke. She believed in treating the land similar to the way you would treat a person."

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