Aldo Leopold's Legacy

"There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot."

What does it mean to know nature?

Is it plant and animal identification? Knowing how to build a fire or forage for food? Perhaps it happens when we pause for a moment in the wild, wondering about its rich, full context and its many tiny details, as Aldo Leopold did in A Sand County Almanac.

You’re invited to follow in Aldo Leopold’s footsteps through a new series of classes that enrich our collective understanding of what it means to know nature. Some classes teach skills for observing and documenting the world around you, while others explore Leopold’s ecological influence.

Come immerse yourself in Wisconsin’s conservation legacy!

At a glance

What: Classes and events to help you explore the legacy of Wisconsin conservationist Aldo Leopold

When: Spring of 2017

Questions? Contact Jessica Courtier at or 608-890-3626

Aldo's path in a sunbeam

Aldo Leopold’s Legacy: The Land Ethic in Today’s World

April 6-27

Aldo Leopold's land ethic is a foundational concept in environmental and conservation movements. What does it mean in today's world?

Artful Observation: Nature Journaling at the Arboretum

May 12-June 2

Connect more deeply to nature through observation and experience springtime at the Arboretum as you practice nature journaling.

Contemplative Walks With Nature

Aldo's path on a sunny dayMay 3-June 21

Explore a variety of embodied and mindful practices designed to connect us deeply to nature, including observation exercises from ecology, holistic science, and spiritual traditions.

Discovering Patterns in Nature

Feb 24-April 28

Play with science and the art of patterns through observation skills, sketching, and creative projects.

Holding History: The Nature of the Book

April 4

We draw particular attention to environmental history by exploring what books are made of and how people have captured our relationships with, and reflections on, nature within their pages.

Jens Jensen: A Pioneer in American Landscape Design and Conservation

prairie grassesMarch 1-15

We use Jensen's writings, interviews, and unpublished early photographs and audio recordings to explore his life and accomplishments.

A Morning with Nature Writer Blair Braverman at the UW-Madison Writers’ Institute

March 25

Blair Braverman was eighteen when she left her home in California, moved to arctic Norway to learn to drive sled dogs, and found work as a tour guide on a glacier in Alaska. Her novel, Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube, brilliantly recounts her adventures. Blair will share her experiences of chasing fear and finding home in the Great White North.

Keynote Speech, 8:30-9:30am, $15 pay onsite at Writers' Institute and stay for Blair's book signing event to be held midday.

Nature's Music: Knowing the Natural World Through Sound

Feb 23-March 16

Explore not only how the natural world sounds, but also how sound technologies have shaped the acts of knowing and listening.

Walking Leopold's Legacy: Leopold Foundation Tour and Workshop

Aldo's shack May 6

Explore Aldo Leopold's sand county homestead with a private tour by Leopold biographer Curt Meine, and then participate in a workshop about the land ethic.

Writing Nature - Signatures in the Wild

2 sessions, see dates below

Read and discuss a wide range of nature writers and write our own nature narratives, essays, and poems – all while surrounded by the natural beauty of the Arboretum.

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