Animal ambassador conservationists: Luna Leopold


Luna the hedgehog’s name works on multiple levels. First, luna means moon in Spanish, and since the Dickinson County Nature Center’s African pygmy hedgehog is nocturnal, a name meaning moon is quite apt.

Second, like many of our animals, Luna is named after a famous conservationist — Luna Leopold.

Leopold was born in 1915 in Albuquerque, NM, son of famed conservationist Aldo Leopold. It was from his father that Luna Leopold inherited a passion for the environment and a curiosity about the outdoors while growing up in Madison, WI.

Leopold explored the earth in a variety of ways through his education, getting degrees in civil engineering, meteorology and geology. He began work with the U.S. Geological Survey in 1949 and was overseeing all water programs by 1957. In 1963, he began work as the first chief hydrologist of the USGS.

luna leopold

In the 1970s, Leopold began teaching and researching hydrology at the University of California-Berkeley. During this time, he also continued his writing career. He helped publish his father’s famed book “A Sand County Almanac,” and Leopold also wrote six of his own books and published about 200 articles.

Leopold died in 2006, but he left a legacy that included many honors:

  • National Medal of Science
  • Penrose Medal of the Geological Society of America
  • Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science