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A land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members and also respect for the community as such.
— Aldo Leopold, 1887-1948
The Leopold Center is named for Aldo Leopold, a Burlington, Iowa native who saw a need for wise use of land and water resources. The internationally known conservationist, ecologist, and educator devoted his life to planting seeds of thought about how farming should be productive but not interfere with natural systems.
During his 61 years, he published nearly 500 works including technical reports, speeches, textbooks, newsletters, reviews, and even a few poems. But he is best-known for A Sand County Almanac, a collection of 41 essays published 18 months after his death in 1948.
This book has been compared to Henry David Thoreau's Walden, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and the works of John Muir. Many of the essays focused on the the birds, animals and plants surrounding Leopold's weekend home (called "the Shack") on the Wisconsin River north of Madison.
In this book, Leopold outlined his famous "land ethic" and development of an ecological conscience.
An early graduate from Yale University's School of Forestry, Leopold worked many years for the U.S. Forest Service in the Arizona and New Mexico territories. He also was a game consultant, and chaired the country's first Department of Game Management at the University of Wisconsin. He helped found the Wilderness Society and the Wildlife Society and was active in numerous conservation organizations.
Have you seen the movie? Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time is the first full-length documentary about Aldo Leopold, produced by as a partnership between the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the Center for Humans and Nature, and the US Forest Service. Here's the official website
Leopold's Iowa roots: Iowa Public Radio host Charity Nebbe interviewed Leopold biographer Curt Meine about Iowa's most famous conservationist. [September 2013]
Fall 2014 Leopold Letter article: "Aldo Leopold's land ethic rooted in Burlington"
Watch a YouTube video about the Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Monona, Wisconsin, narrated by Aldo Leopold's daughter, Nina Leopold Bradley.
Read about Aldo Leopold's views on agriculture from former Leopold Center advisory board member Robert Sayre [PDF].
Download a summary of Aldo Leopold's life from the Aldo Leopold Foundation [PDF].
Game Management, Aldo Leopold, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1933
A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold, Oxford University Press, 1949
Round River: From the Journals of Aldo Leopold, Oxford University Press, 1953
Thinking Like a Mountain: Aldo Leopold and the Evolution of an Ecological Attitude toward Deer, Wolves and Forests, Susan Flader, University of Missouri Press, 1974
Companion to A Sand County Almanac: Interpretive and Critical Essays, J. Baird Callicott, University of Wisconsin Press, 1987
Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work, Curt Meine, University of Wisconsin Press, 1988
The River of the Mother of God: And Other Essays by Aldo Leopold, Susan Flader and J. Baird Callicott, editors, University of Wisconsin Press, 1991
Aldo Leopold: Living with the Land, Julie Dunlap, Twenty-First Century Books, 1993 (for younger readers)
Aldo Leopold's Southwest, Aldo Leopold (David E. Brown, editor), University of New Mexico Press, 1995
The Essential Aldo Leopold: Quotations and Commentaries, Curt Meine and Richard Knight (editors), University of Wisconsin Press, 1999
A Sand County Almanac, Outdoor Essays and Reflections, Aldo Leopold, Kenneth Brower (editor) and Michael Sewell (photographer), Oxford University Press, 2001
For the Health of the Land: Previously Unpublished Essays and Other Writings, Aldo Leopold and J. Baird Callicott and Eric T. Freyfogle (editors), Island Press, 2001
Aldo Leopold: A Fierce Green Fire, Marybeth Lorbiecki, Falcon, 2005
Aldo Leopold's Odyssey: Rediscovering the Author of A Sand County Almanac, Julianne Lutz Newton, Island Press, 2006
Listen to this 10-minute video about A Sand County Almanac, produced by the Aldo Leopold Foundation.
Leopold archives and photographs are part of the the University of Wisconsin's Ecology and Natural Resources Digital Collection. Image used by permission.