A peregrine falcon nesting on top of City Hall in Long Beach, California, in 1991 scowls at a photographer coming too close. In the early 1970s, after decades of exposure to chemical pesticides, the birds were extinct in the East and rare in the West—only two pairs could be located in all of California. Now thanks to zealous conservation programs that hatched eggs in captivity and then returned the birds to the wild, there are more than 150 pairs in the state and peregrines are coming back to the East as well. The gradual return of the endangered bird is one of many signs that we may finally be making progress in rescuing our environment. In this issue John Steele Gordon chronicles our nation’s erratic stewardship of a natural bounty that once seemed inexhaustible.