Jens Jensen (1860–1951) was one of America's most distinguished landscape architects and a pioneering conservationist. During his long and productive career, this Danish-born visionary worked for and with some of the country's most prominent citizens and architects, including Henry Ford, Louis Sullivan, and Frank Lloyd Wright. He became internationally renowned for his design of landscapes throughout the Midwest and beyond, his contributions to the American conservation movement, and his philosophy that emphasized the significance of nature in people's lives. He found inspiration in the landscape, particularly the plants native to a region, and was an environmentalist long before the term became popular.
Today, Jensen is perhaps best remembered for establishing The Clearing on Wisconsin's Door County Peninsula. But the outspoken views in his writings—many of which were included in ephemeral planning reports, early newspapers, and out-of-print journals—are now virtually forgotten, with the exception of his two small books. Jens Jensen: Writings Inspired by Nature is a collection of Jensen's most significant yet lesser-known articles. The scope of Jensen's philosophy represented in these writings will further solidify his legacy and rightful place alongside conservation leaders such as John Muir and Aldo Leopold.
William H. Tishler, FASLA, is professor emeritus of landscape architecture at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where his work has focused on historic preservation, landscape architectural history, vernacular architecture, and preservation issues relating to Upper Midwest cultural landscapes. He is a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and has been a senior fellow in landscape studies at Dumbarton Oaks and an Attingham Fellow in England. Tishler is the author of more than 170 publications. Several of his books and articles, as well as his documentary film, Jens Jensen: A Natural History, have won national awards.