Walking on a ridge on the Leopold Pine Island Important Bird Area, an area that covers 16,000 acres straddling the Wisconsin River is a place that is quite special. This gorgeous ridge, wild in character with few human habitations, is a mosaic of marsh, grassland, barrens, floodplain and upland hardwood forest, along with agricultural lands. After traveling to so many countries he cannot even keep count, George Archibald says it is the most beautiful place he has seen in the world.
“In that place, a quite extraordinary place, you can see, at certain times of the year, 36 different species of birds at one time,” Archibald said. “It is absolutely stunning. It is easy to see why Aldo Leopold was influential in the development of modern environmental ethics.”
Archibald is quite qualified to make statements about Leopold, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who wrote “A Sand County Almanac,” which has sold more than 2 million copies. Leopold and Archibald are icons in the ethics of nature and wildlife preservation both having had a profound impact on the environmental movement. Leopold is known for his eco-centric or holistic ethics regarding land. He emphasized biodiversity and ecology and was a founder of the science of wildlife management.
Archibald is an award-winning conservation hero and co-founder of the International Crane Foundation. He revolutionized the preservation of rare crane species and their wetland habitats worldwide. He not only discovered white-naped cranes on their wintering grounds but he also led a successful campaign to save the Han River estuary, a critical wintering and migratory area located in the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas.
In fact, his efforts have led to the conservation of more than 5 million hectares (one hectare is equal to 10,000-square meters) of wetlands in Asia, mostly in China and Russia. Archibald also helped to implement conservation education programs among local people in remote regions of Africa, Australia and Eurasia. During his career, he has studied the ecology of eight species of cranes in Australia, Bhutan, China, Iran, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States, and has organized more than 900 researchers working with cranes in more than 60 nations.
Archibald is known globally as the world’s leading scientific authority on cranes. He has received numerous awards and honors worldwide including receiving four honorary doctorates and many awards including the Gold Medal from the World Wildlife Fund, a Fellows Award from the MacArthur Foundation, The Wildlife Conservation Medal from the Zoological Society of San Diego, the Lilly Medal presented by the Indianapolis Zoo, and the Douglas H. Pimlott Award from Nature Canada. In 2013, he was awarded the Order of Canada on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, and received the inaugural Dan W. Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership from the National Audubon Society.
However, not only is his favorite place in Sauk County, his favorite place to eat is also in Sauk County — right in his own kitchen in the home that he and his wife Kyoko share. “My wife is absolutely a fabulous cook. We tend to our gardens and eat as much off the land as possible.” They live in the Baraboo countryside where they enjoy gardening and aviculture and great meals in their farmhouse kitchen warmed by a wood-burning stove.
“Even though I am Canadian, I consider Baraboo, and Sauk County my home, as does my wife Kyoko.” When Kyoko came to study cranes from Japan in the late 70s, she also fell in love with Baraboo, and with George. The couple was married in 1981. They have both traveled the world extensively but George says, “There is no better place then right here in Baraboo and Sauk County. We believe it is the best place on earth. It is a hot bed of brilliant people and extraordinary environmental environs. And, my wife is the world’s best cook.”
This is the first part of a three-part special series on the Archibalds.
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 20 (¼-cup each)
Calories: 17 per serving
Percent from Fat: 5%
Course: Salad—Side, Salad—Meal
Diet: Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free
1 large head Chinese cabbage (Napa), 2 to 2½ pounds
1/3 cup coarse sea salt or kosher salt
4 green onions, sliced
1 cup slivered daikon
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons each: crushed red chili pepper flakes, ground ginger and sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
Cut cabbage crosswise into 1½-inch thick slices. Lay slices down; cut crosswise into 12 inch-long slices. Combine cabbage and salt in a large bowl, tossing well. Cover; let stand 3 to 4 hours or until cabbage wilts. Transfer to a colander; rinse well with cold water. Drain and repeat rinsing once to remove all excess salt. Transfer cabbage to a clean dishtowel; roll up and press to absorb excess moisture. Transfer cabbage to a large bowl; add remaining ingredients and toss well. Pack mixture into clean glass jars with tight fitting lids (washed spaghetti sauce jars work well). Store in a cool dark place for two to three days. Refrigerate up to two weeks.
At this point, some of the kimchee may be used as a fresh condiment to serve right away before fermenting the rest.
Standing time: 3 to 4 hours
Fermenting time: 2 to 3 days
If you can find it, adding powdered shrimp (a couple tablespoons) can make this dish more authentic. Small packets can be found at local oriental food markets or special ordered at grocery stores such as Pierce’s or Viking. You can also use one-tablespoon fresh ginger and if you can’t find powdered shrimp, just add a tablespoon of fish sauce as a substitute.
Total fat (g): 0.08. Fat calories (kc): 0.73. Cholesterol (mg): 0. Trans fatty acids (g): 0. Saturated fat (g): 0.02. Polyunsaturated fat (g): 0.04. Monounsaturated fat (g): 0.01. Fiber (g): 0.93. Carbohydrates (g): 2.84. Sugars (g): 1.66. Protein (g): 0.76. Sodium (mg): 202.28. Calcium (mg) 29.88.
Rebecca Powell Hill is a New York Times best-selling author, co-creator of ChefMD and a marketing consultant. She lives in Baraboo.