Early in “Some Stories: Lessons from the Edge of Business and Sport” (Patagonia, April 2019, hardcover), Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard recounts being elected secretary of his falconry club when he was 15 years old. Keeping the minutes was his first writing assignment outside school, and the previously unpublished “Southern California Falconry Club” documents one of the most formative times of his life.
Adult club members, including Tom Code, then a graduate student at UCLA, taught Chouinard and others falconry and climbing, which was necessary to reach nests. These pursuits also gave the young man a solid foundation for his love of the outdoors and fierce environmental activism.
“The thin, crushed eggs we found were the first evidence implicating DDT in the demise of the peregrine falcon in North America,” writes Chouinard. “There were no falcons east of the Mississippi River and few pairs left in the West. Tom [Code] and a few friends developed a captive breeding and release program that pulled the peregrine back from the edge of extinction. Now the peregrine is a common bird all over the country.”
For nearly 80 years, Chouinard has followed his own advice, pursuing outdoor adventures, business excellence and environmental activism with equal fervor. Since 1950, he has captured the lessons and revelations he’s learned in articles and books, personal letters and poetry, introductions and eulogies.
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