Aldo Leopold series involves community in environmental discussions

January 4, 2017

As environmental concerns grow more urgent, the work of Aldo Leopold remains a vital touchstone. The University of Wisconsin-Madison professor was a pioneering conservationist and the author of A Sand County Almanac, the seminal 1949 book about people’s relationship to nature. UW-Madison will honor Leopold’s legacy and connect it to our time with a wide-ranging series of seminars, lectures, and workshops.

Running from January to June, the series includes classes in visual art and writing inspired by Leopold’s thoughtful observation of nature, as well as humanities lectures that address his work and influence. The series will draw on a multitude of UW-Madison resources, with insightful perspectives from professors and staff, glimpses of rare historical books, and opportunities to experience the Arboretum, Lakeshore Path, and Allen Centennial Garden.

Sponsored by the Division of Continuing Studies, these programs are open to the public and do not require admission as a traditional UW student.

“The Leopold series explores the contemporary relevance of one of Wisconsin’s greatest thinkers, capitalizing on the expertise of UW-Madison faculty and staff who are uniquely qualified to interpret his work,” says program director Jessica Courtier. “The accessible courses invite all community members to participate in the discussions and activities and to contemplate what it means to know nature.”

Two of the offerings include Nelson Institute faculty and alumni:

Aldo Leopold’s Legacy: The Land Ethic in Today’s World (April 6-27) updates Leopold’s central concept of moral responsibility to nature. It features enlightening lectures by Paul Robbins, director of the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies; Bill Tishler, professor emeritus of landscape architecture; Monica White, professor of environmental justice; Michael Hansen, the land-care manager of the Arboretum; and Leopold biographer and Nelson Institute alumnus Curt Meine (Land Resources Ph.D., '88).

Walking Leopold’s Legacy (May 6) takes participants on a trip to the Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo. This daylong event begins with a special tour of Leopold’s homestead—the famous shack and its environs—led by Curt Meine. After lunch the group will participate in a lively workshop and discussion related to the land ethic.

View the full list of programming

Excerpted from a story originally published by UW-Madison Continuing Studies