George Bird Grinnell was born in Brooklyn in 1849. When he was about eight years old, his family moved to Audubon  Park, where the widow of John James Audubon ran a small elementary school,
which the young George attended. This childhood contact with the Audubons kindled a lifelong interest in natural history and conservation.

In 1870, he volunteered to go to Nebraska, Wyoming, and Utah on a collecting expedition with the paleontologist, Othniel Marsh. He returned to the plains in 1872, accompanied the Custer expedition to South Dakota's Black Hills in 1874, served as chief naturalist on the Ludlow expedition to Yellowstone Park in  18 75, and  made several other western  hunting trips between 1876 and 1880. In 1883, Grinnell bought a ranch in Wyoming’s Shirley Basin.

In 1880, he took over the editorship of Field and Stream, a sporting publication that, under Grinnell's leadership, became the leading voice for conservation of big game and wild land in America. In 1881, he took up the fight to preserve the remnants of the bison and, in 1882, began a campaign to protect Yellowstone's wildlife that ended with the passage of the Yellowstone Park Protection Act in 1894. At about the same time, Grinnell began a drive to end spring shooting of waterfowl, an effort that culminated in the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918.

In 1884, Grinnell called for an association of men bound together by their interest in game and fish, a suggestion  that led  to  the formation of  the  Boone and  Crockett Club, a  major force in early conservation. Grinnell worked behind the scenes as he so often did, serving as a member of the executive committee. In 1886, he organized the National Audubon Society. Inspired by Grinnell's strong views on the sale of wild game and plumes, his close friend, John Lacey, introduced a bill that supported state game laws by making the interstate shipment of illegally killed game a violation of federal statute. The Lacey Act is still a crucial part of American conservation.

Grinnell was stalwart in the struggle to protect the nation's forests, advocating government system of forest conservation as early as 1883, an idea that led to the establishment of our national forests. He championed the idea of  protecting Glacier Na tio na l Pa rk. An avid  hunter and angler, he was one of the most influential advocates of sportsmanship  and ethics in the blood sports. When he died in 1938, The New York Times remembered him as the father of American conservation. --Chris Madson

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