Michael Paul Nelson is an environmental scholar and professor of environmental ethics and philosophy at Oregon State University. His research and teaching focus is environmental ethics and philosophy including concepts of wilderness, the philosophy of ecology, hunting ethics and theories of environmental education. His work also spans topics in wildlife ecology and conservation biology addressing questions about science and advocacy and the philosophical work of Aldo Leopold. We spoke about the ethical basis for certain animal management and conservation research approaches, about Aldo Leopold and early conservation philosophy, and about how Michael ended up in his field. We also spoke about concepts of grief in ecology, the absence, but critical role, of philosophy in conservation and the natural sciences, and how the paradigms and frameworks that we become embedded in influence our scientific practice.