Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 22, 2009 6:00am-6:30am EDT

6:00 am
6:01 am
>> douglas brinkley, why did you want to do it here? >> it is the headquarters of u.s. fish and wildlife. conservation leaders from all over the world come here for seminars and to learn proper techniques. this is walking past pictures of caribou in alaska. roosevelt was very interested in
6:02 am
all nature, including terrible. what interests me in writing my book is roosevelt is the father of the u.s. fish and wildlife. the crater of the sierra club. roosevelt realized the federal government had the responsibility to save the species of birds and animals, plants and trees, and the president has an obligation to make sure we criticiz protect nl wonders like the grand canyon or mount olympus or the petrified forests for future generations. at this training center he turned this into a -- we turned this into museum of theater roosevelt. >> when did you become interested in him? >> i've loved him since childhood. i read edmund morris's biography and david mccullough's. in 1992 i had a program called
6:03 am
"the magic bus. i went to north dakota in the badlands, the western edge. that is where he spent his ranging days, a theater roosevelt. he wrote an incredible book called "the wilderness hunter." there was an incredibly informed writing about the biology, the ecosystem of the badlands. he knew more about the badlands than any person alive 100 years ago. i fell in love with that particular american landscape. i was teaching at hofstra university with the late jon gabel, a professor to died of cancer, john and i posted a presidential conference. i was co-chair on theater roosevelt. i had papers coming in from everywhere. john helped me realize there had never been a book written on theater roosevelt on conservation. there was an diversity pres
6:04 am
forum of a little bit of notes. i had a great opening there. i realized that between the civil war, the emancipation proclamation, and the second -- the first world war, roosevelt using the white house to promote conference erasicons, involvement with the audubon society, saving birds, and the u.s. fish and wildlife in the national monument, it's changed america. anybody opens up an atlas, there is america. you see all of that green. roosevelt was there. he put aside almost 240 million acres of wild america. as people are talking about environmentalism now and the green movement, roosevelt is the key figure to understand. he was the only politician of his day to had understood biology and understood that
6:05 am
birds had migratory patterns and the mating habits of deer and elk and antelope and actually did something. he is a president who in his young days shot buffalo and then he's the president to created wichita mountains in oklahoma, the reserves before buffalo and one in montana. >> if one of the things you see in this center are stuffed animals. >> taxidermy was big. roosevelt was trained in the art of taxidermy. as a young boy is teacher in new york was a man named john bell who had been a student of audubon. there's a link to john james audubon and roosevelt. young teddy roosevelt had asthma. he was very sickly. from eight years old onward he was obsessed with birds. he created his own roosevelt museum, brian. he had -- theater roosevelt's father was a founder of the american museum of natural
6:06 am
history in new york. young teddy became a bird lover. the first document we have of him as a young boy was about birds. the last article he wrote before his death at age 60 was about to birds. i'm not saying he just liked them. he was one of the world's experts on coloration and variation and inventorying what we have. he created 51 federer oberg reservations. today are the heart and soul of u.s. fish and wildlife. -- created 51 federal bird reservations. trying to state secrets and pelicans, etc. on both coasts. >> explain where this conservation training center is located. >> we are in west virginia in shepherdstown.
6:07 am
it's a beautiful campus. if the archive where i did research because they have the papers not just of early conservationists like roosevelt cars and in the 1960's work for u.s. fish and wildlife. for me this place is in our -- is an archival treasure trove. i went to various birthplaces that roosevelt went to. we have archives in michigan and one in arizona. i even went to puerto rico recently to go see the national forest there which he saved for the national forest service, which is our only rainforest in our entire protection system in united states. it's home to rare pottery and parrots. it is a spectacular part if you can go to puerto rico to see the rain forest. i would go to these places, meet the local superintendent or ranger oil martin and interview
6:08 am
them and get local documentation as well. this is the nerve center for what i would consider roosevelt's wilderness america. >> we're standing in the roosevelt room in the center. behind us is a photograph, a big photograph above the fireplace. >> if that is the roosevelt with the naturalist john meer in 1903. roosevelt became president in 1901 because mckinley was assassinated. the gets sworn in in buffalo. this isn't going to teach politics similar to a kenley company doesn't guarantee creates a could -- he said he would have politics similar to president mckinley, but he did not. he began a radical conservation project. in 1903 he wanted almost all
6:09 am
with john boroughs. then he went to the grand canyon. and when to the north woods -- redwoods of northern california. then he went to yosemite. so the president and john spent three days in the wild, camping under redwood trees. roosevelt thought the redwoods were our great cathedrals. they slept in a snowstorm without a tent. roosevelt's, with his enthusiasm, "to the greatest day i have ever spent in my life freezing in a snowstorm with john." john was more about in this. he would talk more about the plant. roosevelt was out there looking at the birds. they had a friendly competition. roosevelt thought john was one of our great figures. roosevelt was a hunter conservationist. jon scott only in extreme cases of congress should you shoot an
6:10 am
animal. roosevelt thought that was nonsense, that you had to constantly -- that hunters with a great conservationists. john one time asked him whether you going to give that boy is hunting think of? roosevelt said, i know that i should. but he didn't. he ended up going on to africa and to brazil collecting for science and getting sustenance. before dna or radar, the way that the ornithologists would study birds was by specimens. he could not have a bluebird and know anything definitive about it with just one bird. you had to have a wide selection study in the laboratory. roosevelt as president collected for the biological survey for what is today's u.s. fish and wildlife, wherever he went he would send specimens. he would get them analyzed.
6:11 am
teddy roosevelt, after the civil war the first people going west, the geological survey was a big deal, because people wanted maps and it was about money. where is the gold and zinc and mineral rights both by the 1890's was interested in a biological survey. i want to know what native grasses we have, wild flowers, insects, birds, how many flocks? i want numbers. the only scientist-trained presidency was applying what he learned at harvard as a national study is major. learned from field observations. in his inventory between 1901 and 1909 what we are custodians of in this country. >> [unintelligible] >> i don't want to say the wrong number. >> we have 300 million zero more
6:12 am
right now. >> i don't know. around 150 million or something like that if i had to guess. where roosevelt went to the west it was not that populated. that means mexico was a territory. arizona was a territory. oklahoma was the twin territories. he could use the power of the executive office to make executive orders on behalf of them because they were territories. >> how old was he? >> he died when he was 60. he was president in his 40's. it was -- he was at that point our young american president. later there's always a trick. john f. kennedy was the youngest elected. teddy roosevelt did not come in. he was in the prime of his life. incredibly vigorous. one of the things i argue in the
6:13 am
book is there is a psychiatrist at johns hopkins university robo-calls "exuberance." she effectively argue that roosevelt had a kind of form of manic depression called exuberance. betty cannot turn his mind off for his energy off. when you read a lot of roosevelt get so excited in his writings. he would like 4 50 miles and go on horseback all the time. as president he would disappear into the wild for days at a time without reporters. this was part of his need to act all the time. he was a person of pure emotion, pure emotion, locomotion. if you entered -- if he entered a room, he took it over. >> let me interrupt. are you a little like him? >> i identify with him in a sense that i admired him as a
6:14 am
boy. -- that i had asthma as a boy. it was not fun. i have known a lot of relief from nature. i go on nature hikes with my kids. to the outdoors is a great replenish your. whenever --- replenisher. i go to big bend national park. my parents or high school teachers. we had a camper and we would go camping at all these places. i very much and like roosevelt in his love of animals. in austin at my study we had some raccoons born under my daughter's bedroom. there's opossum -- lots of' and that come out to eat from the cat's dish. i have bird feeders all over. i like to have wildlife around me. roosevelt was a believer that urban people can develop major
6:15 am
divisions. he was very concerned about industrialization and that you had to get back to nature. you did not have to live in the wild, but needed national parks and monuments, places to replenish your spirit and then come back to work. >> you spent part of a summer in north dakota. >> i was 1992 when i first went. i go up there if not every summer or every other summer. i did a lot of research for this booked "to the wilderness warrior" up there. the badlands where roosevelt used to live is now theatre roosevelt national park. there's wonderful park superintendent valerie naylor who helped me a lot with the book, proofread chapters and help me understand the terrain there. if there's a woman named shyla shaikh for ply dedicated the book too. she saved medora. many people go to south dakota
6:16 am
because of mount rushmore and the black hills. there are national parks roosevelt created in devil's tower in wyoming, which he saved as a national monument. but if you go north to north dakota it is spectacular and no national park. theater roosevelt national park. families are guaranteed to see buffalo and the wild, wild horses, immense paradox, antelope. i go jogging or mountain biking and our herd of antelope as you go by. it's one of the great places in america. in the summers in montana they're getting a lot of forest fires now and in canada, so the air quality is not as great in montana. this part of the badlands from a door to the north it is like the north pole -- from medora to the north. the whole sky is like a planetarium there at night. the sunsets are just miraculous. one of the environmental things
6:17 am
that's interesting, hopefully the obama administration will do more to protect the river that roosevelt loved on his ranch there. it is prairie land. often we have not treasured the american prairies'. the interior of the united states, the midwest and great plains, is a part of this country that i personally feel happiest. >> doing this book you have published several other books and articles. your book on katrina came out when? >> that came out in 2006. >> have you been working on this? >? >> i've been working on this book at the same time. roosevelt's papers helped me a great deal. the library of congress had some of his papers on microfiche. he wrote over 150,000 letters. what traditionally happens is people are looking as correspondents for issues about
6:18 am
panama canal and farm policy. when he would write a lot, which she wrote most on about birds, people would look at it as a hobby. i took his writing about animal life very seriously, because he did. an example, we know him as the roughrider of the spanish- american war. he trained in san antonio and had three mascot, a cougar cub named josephine from arizona. a gold eagle named teddy. and a dog named kuba. trained as many had three animals with him all the time. he would write letters about the cougar fighting -- biting a man's foot. he found all a bit funny. this menagerie of roosevelt continued in the white house. he had a pony in the elevator. a pet badger he picked up on this trip in the picture above where he would feed potatoes and corn milk. he did not have one dog. this man had six dogs all the time around him.
6:19 am
all night if little stocks to pick up in south dallas -- colorado would sit on is not. he inherited a love of animals that he inherited from his uncle robert roosevelt. in 1860's was the number-one expert on fish. the road a lot of books about canada, ontario, fla., while the florida, which was big to roosevelt. it became part of the family tradition being a conservationist. >> did you try to convince harpercollins published a 1000 page book in this economy we are living in right now? >> my vision is to do a quartet called "america in the age of conservation goals scored with the first volume on teddy roosevelt. they don't like to promote multi volumes because people feel it's the first volume. we're not marketing it that way perce. i wanted to do something very definitive. i've always loved multiple series of america.
6:20 am
we have never written a real conservation history of the country. teddy roosevelt, because of all of his diaries and books, was the perfect person to do it. i could have cut my book down and went. if to do that i would have had to not write about crater lake national park, not right about the petrified forest in arizona, or not right about the bird refuges in florida. you would have to start cutting some of the places. i did not want to do that. my book was a chance for major statement for people to understand if these battles. it's not just a washington story of roosevelt and the white house. their work foot soldiers for conservation everywhere. he was not working with these people. if this is not just a biography of theodore roosevelt. it is a book of him and conservationists and naturalists around him. we've mentioned boroughs and john meer. but there is spencer fulton thebear and there was william
6:21 am
hornaday involved in founding the bronx zoo. depopulating the planes with buffalo. dr. miriam turan the biological survey. there were many. -- repopulated the plains with buffalo. >> , but -- common in other places did you spend time and research the book? >> almost all. not all of his national forests. their way to many of those, hundreds going down. but all of the national parks. and is monuments i visited. i travel the country lot. this has been my hobby, visiting roosevelt's places. what was very exciting for me, one place i had not been was pine noknow, a cabin in virginia
6:22 am
that's where roosevelt saw the last passenger pigeon. it is extinct now. roosevelt wrote the last observation of one in the wild. this shows the rustic man in him who was most comfortable in nature. people don't want to think of is conservation as a policy as much as a passion. the foresight he had, that we could not to deforest ourselves, that we had to keep rivers protected, that animals had to have habitat. because he was influenced so much aidala and, he believed that to leave the species any kind -- to losbecause he was so influenced by charles garmin, he believed losing even one species was a tragedy -- influenced by
6:23 am
charles darwin. it was not just romance for him. he was a scientist. he got a dramatic excitement from the wild, from seeing the species in the wild. >> at the national conservation training center, this place is paid for by the taxpayer. do they know about it? >> that is one of the reasons i wanted you to come. they don't. historian mark madison, a historian, there's a great archive year on looking at the oregon coast. he lived in the pacific coast of washington and oregon. roosevelts of these places on the mat. he saved those buried the early photography. roosevelt was interested in wildlife photography. he had a man named william finley from or dispiroregon.
6:24 am
it became a movement to save the wildlife of oregon. these states particularly in the west and in florida, you cannot write about the states without seeing the impact roosevelt had. these are not easy things to do. when he saved the grand canyon -- he went there and said to not destroy the grand canyon, standing on the rim, it is for future generations, you cannot improve the beauty of its." he was then shocked to find congress was ready to mine it for investors in zinc, copper, and commercializing. roosevelt used an executive order and congress refused to make the grand canyon national park. they refused. roosevelt had a weapon. the antiquities act. that was like a club. the antiquities at the 1906. he said i declare this a national monument for future generations, overriding congress.
6:25 am
the t3 is conservation is he did it with this group. congress, western senators in particular, were not reading into the federal government grabbing an area like the grand canyon and closing it off. roosevelt's conservation can be seen as he was inspired by lincoln's emancipation and the powers of the federal government. his heroes were keen on protecting yellowstone with general brant as president in 1872 and sherman and sheridan as union generals, they were hunters, but they wanted to create game reserves. roosevelt's part of that tradition also, determined to use the executive power to save wild america. >> back to the business of the archives here. are you afraid maybe that is open to others that they will discover and take away this -- that you have had this special look at this stuff?
6:26 am
>> i want people to come. it is a campus environment. we once dollars to start looking at this. if you cannot pick up a magazine without reading about green power or wind power, the environmental movement, the planet in peril like what anderson cooper has talked about. in order to understand it, roosevelt created the global modern conservation movement. as president, he was calling for international conferences to save rainforests. redwood forests, evergreen forests as well. it was not just localized to america. he was involved in the sense of seeing the problems of piper industrialization and the havoc it was going to wreck on wilderness areas. he wanted the world to act. he could not be more relevant. his concerns of 100 years ago are now big concerns today. >> this place, this place would not be here without robert
6:27 am
byrd, $150 million came to build this place. do you think roosevelt would be surprised if he saw this? >> he would love it. >> would be surprised? >> i don't think he would, because of his sense of grandeur was so large. he was creating conservationist book folders. a cartoonist join his crusade. what he was doing was creating a movement. like martin luther king created a civil rights movement. roosevelt spearheaded the conservation movement with perpetuity. for example, many of our for strangers in the west were rough riders who had served with him. he wanted to protect wild areas, to protect against poaching. he was doing law-enforcement,
6:28 am
saying we are going to protect our air loans. he called all these places like wind cave or yosemite or mesa verde our air loans that were going to protect and police. we're training people to be conservationists in west virginia. >> if you look at the banners in this room, you have locations that was involved in. >> he saved them. >> he left when he was 51 years old. he did not live beyond 60. do you think at the time he thought they would be that important all these years later that this kind of thing would be celebrated in history? >> he would be pleased. remember, because of our time limits i cannot get into specifics. >> you might want to buy the book. [laughter] >> people talk about the bull
6:29 am
moves of roosevelt. 100 years ago in 1909 in march he leaves the white house. his last week he put a bird reserves and monuments everywhere. the olympic national park, mount olympus, he saved at the last minute using executive orders. this was no lame duck president. he left to go for a year in africa. while in africa william howard taft fired his chief forester pinchot goes on the mississippi in that picture headed to a memphis conservation conference. he was the chief forester. taft fired him over alaska's land arguments. taft was trying to let commerce into a land of roosevelt put aside for preservation for federal use. so they fired pinchoy. he goes to italy. taft


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on