How Holistic Land Management Inspires, Keeps Hope Alive

For Beau Turner, restoring millions of acres of land and encouraging a new generation of nature lovers is a dream job.

| January 15, 2010

Beau Turner Releasing Fish

Still fishing: Turner helps unhook a fish.


Reed Beauregard Turner (or Beau, as he is universally known) is one of the most influential and proactive conservationists in the world. He has been charged with the task of acquiring more than 2 million acres (spread out over 21 properties in 12 states in North America and three in Argentina), and then deciding where the millions of dollars allocated to research, restoration and land management programs will be spent on those properties. Turner serves as chairman of the trustees for the Turner Endangered Species Fund and director of natural resources for Turner Enterprises, Inc., positions where he is regularly part of the global discussion about how to balance care for the planet with political and economic agendas.

Discovering a Passion

Despite his heavy workload, however, Beau’s approach to life and work remain firmly rooted in a simple lesson he learned at the age of 5.

“It all goes back to the land.” He says, “I spent most of my time outdoors as a kid, hunting and fishing with my dad and other mentors.” “I can still remember the day I caught my first fish at the age of five. From that moment on, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to protect the land and the animals on it.”

Oddly enough, Beau never thought he would be working with or for his father, media mogul Ted Turner.

“My goal was to find a way to make money and buy the land myself,” he says. Beau preferred being outdoors to focusing on books and eventually realized that he would have to give school his full attention if he hoped to realize his goal. “I really took college seriously and did quite well. I knew I had to do well in school to do well by the environment. That was my passion and I was totally hooked.”

However, the elder Turner recognized vision when he saw it and made a pact with his son.

susan arterian chang
1/4/2011 9:40:01 AM

Perhaps readers would be interested in another story about holistic land management:

dawn pfahl
1/26/2010 9:26:05 PM

I agree with Maxine. These guys are not misusing the land. And as far as the Native Americans are concerned... I'll wait to hear from them, instead of shouldering the Great White Guilt over our ancestors' actions. I am doing what I can in my lifetime to improve things for myself first and everyone else later; that is as it should be and no one should be telling me that I can't enjoy a plot of land because 200 years ago, it was traded away from a group of natives. Personally, I'll support any and all conservation efforts, ATV-owning or not. Small steps toward a bigger, greater future need to be taken and these guys have the funding to do a lot for us - let's make use of it, instead of complaining! If the gov't bought up all this land and was doing the exact same thing, would you see it in such a poor light?

hazel watson_2
1/22/2010 6:02:23 AM

Why do you object to the term "holistic"?

maxine lesline
1/19/2010 11:11:45 AM

Awareness of the planet's fragility is not contaminated by wealth...and acceptance of help in protecting what is left seems realistic... just because the Turners have more money than the rest of us does not diminish their awareness of the need to use their money to raise the awareness level of people with less money. It is easier to complain than to act, is a sad fact.

phil brux
1/19/2010 3:07:13 AM

I am very skeptical about super rich landowners being referred to as "holistic". Let us all keep in mind that this land was all stolen from the Indians. On the other hand, I can imagine the Turners rampaging their noisy ATV's across their vast holdings bragging about their goodness and holisticness. I might suggest that the Turners might do us all a favor by giving all of their land back to its rightful owners. And without fanfare.

k williams
1/18/2010 3:44:29 PM

I dont know if Jena Ball is a journalist or a press agent for Mr. Turner, but the article sounds like the latter. K. Williams

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