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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > The Evolution of the Conservation Movement

[Detail] The Harvest Moon. Currier & Ives, between 1860 and 1870.

Historical Research

This collections offers many research opportunities for students. Successful research themes include conservation of natural resources, social policy issues (such as public recreation on public lands, natural resource management, endangered animals, grazing and mineral rights), development of ecological science, and state and regional conservation issues.

For example, students could research the relationship between recreation and conservation within the collection and find resources such as the 1864 work, Man and Nature, by George P. Marsh. Marsh writes:

(page 235) It is desirable that some large and easily accessible region of American soil should remain, as far as possible, in its primitive condition, at once a museum for the instruction of the student, a garden for the recreation of the lover of nature, and an asylum where indigenous tree, and humble plant that loves the shade, and fish and fowl and four-footed beast, may dwell and perpetuate their kind, in the enjoyment of such imperfect protection as the laws of a people jealous of restraint can afford them. The immediate loss to the public treasury from the adoption of this policy would be inconsiderable, for these lands are sold at low rates. The forest alone, economically managed, would, without injury, and even with benefit to its permanence and growth, soon yield a regular income larger than the present value of the fee.

Search on camping, conservation of natural resources, hunting, fishing, national parks, public lands, public recreation, wildlife, and states by name to launch research projects.