In this chapter, I explore the roots of field biology, which lie deep in the outdoor competence of Native Americans, European settlers, mountain men, and voyageurs. As the children of pioneers who settled the Midwest, early field biologists grew up surrounded by the nature they would come to study. They were influenced not only by scientists, but also by philosophers who were trying to make sense of what the United States was and what kind of nation it could become. Midwestern field biologists often took advantage of opportunities at the big eastern institutions, and the quality of their work propelled them into leadership positions.
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