history of conservation

Grillparzer’s Funeral Oration for Beethoven

((professionally disinterested musicologist voice: Grillparzer, a poet and playwright, met Beethoven a few times, and the two planned to collaborate on an opera together, but the project was halted by Beethoven’s death. Although he recognized the composer’s significance, Grillparzer harbored a lot ambivalence about him, especially the later, experimental works. His oration is most effective when he focuses on the man and contributes to the mythology that was already arising about the lonely, isolated genius, but the inclusion of Adelaide and Wellington’s Victory among the pieces he chooses to highlight and the place he assigns Beethoven in the history of music show his conservative opinions.

((usual voice: THE FEELS

We who stand here at the grave of the deceased are in a sense the representatives of an entire nation, the whole German people, come to mourn the passing of one celebrated half of that which remained to us from the vanished brilliance of the fatherland. The hero of poetry in the German language and tongue still lives – and long may he live. But the last master of resounding song, the gracious mouth by which music spoke, the man who inherited and increased the immortal fame of Handel and Bach, of Haydn and Mozart, has ceased to be; and we stand weeping over the broken strings of an instrument now stilled.

An instrument now stilled. Let me call him that! For he was an artist, and what he was, he was only through art. The thorns of life had wounded him deeply, and as the shipwrecked man clutches the saving shore, he flew to your arms, oh wondrous sister of the good and true, comforter in affliction, the art that comes from on high! He held fast to you, and even when the gate through which you had entered was shut, you spoke through a deafened ear to him who could no longer discern you; and he carried your image in his heart, and when he died it still lay on his breast.

He was an artist, and who shall stand beside him? As the behemoth sweeps through the seas, he swept across the boundaries of his art. From the cooing of the dove to the thunder’s roll, from the subtlest interweaving of willful artifices to that awesome point at which the fabric presses over into the lawlessness of clashing natural forces – he traversed all, he comprehended everything. He who follows him cannot continue; he must begin anew, for his predecessor ended where art ends.

Adelaide and Leonore! Commemorations of the heroes of Vittoria and humble tones of the Mass! Offspring of three and four-part voices. Resounding symphony, “Freude, schöner Götterfunken”, the swansong. Muses of song and of strings, gather at his grave and strew it with laurel!

He was an artist, but also a man, a man in every sense, in the highest sense. Because he shut himself off from the world, they called him hostile; and callous, because he shunned feelings. Oh, he who knows he is hardened does not flee! (It is the more delicate point that is most easily blunted, that bends or breaks.)

Excess of feeling avoids feelings. He fled the world because he did not find, in the whole compass of his loving nature, a weapon with which to resist it. He withdrew from his fellow men after he had given them everything and had received nothing in return. He remained alone because he found no second self. But until his death he preserved a human heart for all men, a father’s heart for his own people, the whole world.

Thus he was, thus he died, thus he will live for all time!

And you who have followed his escort to this place, hold your sorrow in sway. You have not lost him but won him. No living man enters the halls of immortality. The body must die before the gates are opened. He whom you mourn is now among the greatest men of all time, unassailable forever. Return to your homes, then, distressed but composed. And whenever, during your lives, the power of his works overwhelms you like a coming storm; when your rapture pours out in the midst of a generation yet unborn; then remember this hour and think: we were there when they buried him, and when he died we wept!

Just a reminder, the last time we had an entertainer for a president, he got away with genocide, weapons dealing, destabilizing the middle class, draining social security, misleading the public about an epidemic, and a LOT more.

People thought of Reagan as an entertainer more than a politician, and so one of the WORST presidents in history is remembered as a conservative icon.

We can’t afford to let Trump become another Teflon President.

We. Can’t.

Critically examine everything Trump does.

Don’t clickbait articles - that will be used to discredit liberal news sources.

Understand the implications of his actions.

Speak about these implications.


Donate to protestors.

Support protestors.

Support media that calls out his bullshit.

Call him out when he shifts blame.

Call him out when he takes credit for shit he hasn’t done.

For the love of god, make sure that the world sees Trump for what he is - an ill-prepared megalomaniac with dangerous ideologies who rose to power by pandering to the worst that humanity has to offer.


#ICYMI: This week’s supermoon was spectacular!

In case you weren’t able to catch this year’s Supermoon, we’ve got a couple photos from it rising this past Sunday evening. The Cronan Ranch, pictured here is under the stewardship of the BLM California Mother Lode Field Office and contains 12 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, bird watching and more near Pilot Hill, California. 

The area is part of the South Fork American River corridor. It was once home to riches with the discovery of gold just upstream at Sutter’s Mill, which started the famed California Gold Rush. The area is now one of the most popular whitewater rivers in the United States with visitors coming from far and wide to enjoy the class 3+ rapids.

The Brain Scoop: How Bird Vomit Helps us Understand History

Owl pellets. Many of us dissected them in school, picking apart these congealed masses of regurgitated bones, fur and fluff – aka, bird vomit. But in caves across the world, massive accumulations of these vomit capsules are helping paleontologists reconstruct what ecosystems looked like, and how they changed, over periods of hundreds- to hundreds of thousands of years. 

Curious…? Check out our latest: 

Protester sets himself on fire at Trump's Washington D.C. hotel
The man, who has not yet been identified, said the act was in protest of the President-elect's looming inauguration. Witnesses said he yelled 'Trump' as flames 'ran up his back' shortly before 9.30pm.


Meet Ozymandias, our endangered Burmese Mountain Tortoise (Manouria emys)! Reaching weights of upto 100lbs, this unusual critter is the fourth largest tortoise species on Earth!

They are also among the most primitive extant tortoises on the planet based on morphological and molecular studies.

We are proud to be the caretaker of two Burmese Mountain Tortoises and we intend to help in Canada’s captive breeding of this species at risk. Come visit Ozy at the Prehistoria Natural History Centre in Toronto! We are open Friday-Sunday (12-6pm) at 1193 Weston rd (Weston & Eglinton).

Jackson Pollock’s Echo: Number 25, 1951 is back on view at MoMA as part of Jackson Pollock: A Collection Survey, 1934–1954 after its recent visit to the Dallas Museum of Art. Find out what our conservation department learned from studying Echo

[Shown: Jackson Pollock. Echo: Number 25, 1951. 1951. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2016 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Installation view of Jackson Pollock: A Collection Survey, 1934–1954 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (November 22, 2015–March 13, 2016). Photograph: Yan Pan]


This Revolutionary War Lieutenant’s coat is being prepared for an exhibition scheduled to open in the fall. As a preliminary step, textile conservator Midori Sato and N-YHS Conservation Assistant Janet Lee examine the garment and decide what kind of treatment and stabilization it will need. 

Officer’s coat.  1785-1795.  Wool, linen, metal. New-York Historical Society.


Happy anniversary to the Wilderness Act!  On September 3, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed this landmark conservation legislation. The BLM has stewardship responsibilities for 223 Wilderness Areas with over 8.7 million acres in 10 Western States. These areas are protected in their undeveloped state and offer outstanding recreation opportunities for visitors willing to experience nature on its own terms. BLM managed wilderness areas include vast southwestern deserts, red-rock canyons, rugged Pacific coastline and alpine peaks.


Happy birthday to President Theodore Roosevelt! As President, Roosevelt established 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, four national game preserves, five national parks and 18 national monuments on over 230 million acres of public land. His words and actions were a massive contribution to the conservation movement and solidified his legacy as a champion of public lands. Photo of Theodore Roosevelt at Yellowstone National Park courtesy of the Library of Congress. Photo of Theodore Roosevelt National Park by Gary Anderson, National Park Service. Photo of President Roosevelt and John Muir at Yosemite National Park from Yosemite National Park’s archives.