Charles E. Little, a native Californian, attended Wesleyan University in 1955, and served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers . Although he began his career as an advertising executive in New York City, Little decided in his mid-thirties to resign from advertising to become a full-time environmental activist, author, journalist, and policy analyst. Since then he has helped pass both federal and state legislation on open space, parks, and agricultural land preservation. He has also held several research and management positions in non-profit organizations and government agencies. These include: executive director of the Open Space Institute in New York, senior associate at the Conservation Foundation in Washington D.C., and head of natural resources policy at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress . In 1978, Little established and became president of the American Land Forum in order to develop policy on land conservation.
Little has written a number of books and magazine articles that have led to numerous changes in conservation policy, which include better approaches to cooperative planning for landscape areas, as well as national legislation for farmland protection. Books by Little include: Challenge of the Land ( 1968 ), Space for Survival: Blocking the Bulldozer in Urban America ( 1971 ), Green Fields Forever: the Conservation Tillage Revolution in America ( 1987 ), Greenways for America ( 1990 ), Hope for the Land ( 1992 ), The Dying of the Trees: the Pandemic in America's Forests ( 1995 ), and Discover America: the Smithsonian Book of the National Parks ( 1995 ). Little and W. Wendell Fletcher co-authored The American Crisis: Why U.S. Farmland is Being Lost and How citizens and Governments are Trying to Save What is Left ( 1982 ). Little edited Louis Bromfield at Malabar: Writings on Farming and country Life ( 1988 ). In addition, Little co-edited An Appalachian Tragedy: Air Pollution and Tree Death in the Highland Forest of Eastern North America (1998) with Havard Ayers and Jenny Hager . Little has contributed numerous articles about land conservation, community planning, and natural resources to the following magazines: Smithsonian, Garden, Business and Society Review, Air and Space, Country Journal, and Wilderness, for which he contributed a whole-issue essay on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 1987 . Little has also written pieces for the Capital Ideas department in Harrowsmith, and Conservation Commentary in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation . In addition, Little has both edited and published two periodicals: Open Space Action and American Land Forum, the prize-winning magazine that he founded in 1980. He also edited the John Hopkins series American Land Classics . Little currently resides in Kensington, Maryland with his wife, Ila Dawson Little, professor of English literature.
From the guide to the Charles E. Little Papers, 1975-1990, (Special Collections Research Center)