The John Aston Warder award, featuring his likeness.
The John Aston Warder award, featuring his likeness.

Sunday the birthday of John Aston Warder, founder and first president of the oldest conservation nonprofit in the country … You guessed it, American Forests.

Warder was born in 1812 near Philadelphia and enjoyed a childhood of wandering the woods observing the plants and animals there. As a young man, he enjoyed fulfilling careers in medicine and then horticulture before devoting himself to his passion for forests and forestry. He founded American Forests, then known as the American Forestry Association, in 1875.

In August 1883, following Warder’s death, the American Journal of Forestry had this to say in memoriam:

“It is proper that this journal should pay a fitting tribute to the memory of one who was among the earliest, most intelligent, and most active of the laborers on behalf of American Forestry. Of no one can it be more truthfully said, that his life was a blessing to mankind. From early childhood, his great object was to do all in his power to make others happy, by aiding them to find pleasure in the beauties and bounties of nature.”

Today, more than 130 years later, we’re still doing what’s in our power to protect and restore those beauties and bounties of nature for future generations — of people, plants and animals — to enjoy.

Happy Birthday, John!