Considered by many to be the father of wildlife ecology and the United States’ wilderness system, Aldo Leopold was a conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast.
Among his best known ideas is the “land ethic,” which calls for an ethical, caring relationship between people and nature. This vision of a “land ethic” was not meant to be rigid or dogmatic; instead, Leopold intended for it to evolve continually through personal reflection, open dialogue, and people’s actions on the land and in their communities.
Over a 12-year period, he wrote, re-wrote, and re-wrote again, essays that both informed readers of how the natural world worked and inspired them to take action to ensure the future health of the land and water that sustains all life.
Through science, history, humor, and prose, Leopold used his resulting work, A Sand County Almanac, to communicate the true connection between people and the natural world. The hope: that readers will begin to treat the land with the love and respect it deserves.
"A conservationist is one who is humbly aware that with each stroke he is writing his signature on the face of his land.” — Aldo Leopold
Aldo Leopold Week/Weekend — March 1-8, 2020
In Wisconsin, the first weekend in March is designated "Aldo Leopold Weekend," while in Iowa, the first full week of March is designated as "Leopold Week."
Both celebrations (as well as individual events across other states,) offer a chance for communities to come together around Leopold’s idea of a land ethic.
Leopold Weekend began in the state on March 4, 2000, when the citizens of Lodi, WI, gathered to read A Sand County Almanac aloud, cover to cover. Dubbed “Lodi Reads Leopold,” the event was so inspiring and successful that its organizer, the Friends of Scenic Lodi Valley, decided it should be an annual experience.
During the 3rd annual “Lodi Reads Leopold” event, George Meyer, former secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and a “celebrity reader,” wondered aloud why every community in the state wasn’t reading Leopold that weekend. State legislator Mark Miller shouted from the audience, “I’ll introduce that legislation.”
The spark caught on. One year later, in March 2004, Governor James Doyle signed bipartisan legislation designating the first weekend in March “Aldo Leopold Weekend” across Wisconsin.
Join in the Celebrations
Events in honor of Aldo Leopold are taking place across the United States, including:
- Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time: Mason City, IA
- Walk In Leopold’s Footsteps: Madison, WI
- Aldo Leopold Reading: Maquoketa, IA
- Thinking about Aldo Leopold: Reﬂections on interdisciplinarity and research questions: New Haven, CT
- Green Fire – Film & Discussion: Augusta, WI
- Green Fire–Aldo Leopold And A Land Ethic For Our Time: Dodgeville, WI
- A celebration of Aldo Leopold: Plainview, NE
- Green Fire movie night: Madison, WI
- Madison Reads Leopold: Madison, WI
- La Crosse Area Aldo Leopold Celebration: La Crosse, WI
- Celebrating Aldo Leopold Weekend: Green Fire Documentary Screening: New London, WI
- Aldo Leopold Week Conservation Fair: Green Bay, WI
- Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time: Wynnewood, OK
- Family Nature Program: Living Like Leopold: Madison, WI
- Reading and Celebrating Aldo Leopold and A Sand County Almanac: Dubuque, IA
- Green Fire: Clear Lake, WI
For a full list, as well as details on the above events, click here.