In 1934, in the midst of the Great Depression, local leaders leveraged money from the federal government to begin a noble experiment. Not one predicated on massive construction of some great edifice or artifact, but one dedicated to restoration, the retrieval of a natural state long past. Now, 75 years later, we prepare to celebrate the vision of familiar names like Nolen, Stark and Olbrich, and mark the anniversary of that experiment - the UW Arboretum.
In "Back to Nature," conservationist and Aldo Leopold acolyte Curt Meine recounts the beginnings of the arboretum idea and the philosophical creed that initiated it. We are given to understand that the audacity in the project was the presumption that man could undo what he had done to nature.
Though the premise may still be unproven, at least on a scale that would halt the global climate changes, there have been and continue to be attempts at ecological restoration in all types of circumstances, all of which are the intellectual offspring of the Arboretum experiment. And as far as that original restoration goes, there are few, if any, who would deny the boon that the Arboretum is for Madison.
Included with this issue is the program for next weekend's Isthmus Jazz Festival (June 5-6). The event, which takes place at the Memorial Union Terrace, is almost entirely free. The exception is the ticketed performance by saxophonist David Sanchez at 8 p.m. in the Wisconsin Union Theater. You'll find details in the program. It's been a bad year for music festivals around the country, and a number of them have been suspended. The Isthmus Jazz Fest is scaled down from years past, from 3½ to two days, but the beat still goes on. We hope to see jazz veterans and neophytes alike enjoying the Terrace for the lakeside jazz and packing the house for Sanchez.