Today is the birthday of John Muir, the world-renowned naturalist and author with ties to Wisconsin. Born on April 21, 1838 in Dunbar, Scotland, he moved to Wisconsin with his family at age 11. He grew up on his family's farm near Portage and later attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
His keen interest in botany, piqued at the UW, led him to begin hiking throughout the upper Midwest and Canada. He collected plants and seeds for further study. He even walked from Indiana to Florida, a 1000-mile hike. Later, he ventured out to California where his study and exploration of the natural surroundings were instrumental in the creation of Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park. In 1892 he would found the Sierra Club, one of the most revered environmental protection organizations in the world. He passed away in 1914 at the age of 76.
MPL has a number of great resources on John Muir, including his own writings, books about him, and articles from dozens of publications. And now that the weather's getting nicer, be sure to plan a hike along the John Muir Trails in the Kettle Moraine State Forest!