Teaching a Land Ethic
Leopold’s life and legacy defy easy categorization; therefore we offer a broad spectrum of educational tools to reflect the many opportunities to discuss the ways that a land ethic connects in the classroom and beyond.
A Sand County Almanac
Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac was published in 1949 and since then has sold over two million copies—it is one of the most respected books about the environment ever published. Leopold has come to be regarded by many as the most influential conservation thinker of the twentieth century, and his legacy continues to inform and inspire us to see the natural world “as a community to which we belong.” The resources below can be used to help students better understand Leopold's writing and ideas.
Aldo Leopold Fact Sheet (2 pages, Adobe PDF format) and web overview
Discussion Guide for select essays in A Sand County Almanac by the Aldo Leopold Foundation (Adobe PDF format)
Green Fire Film
A wonderful way to introduce students to Leopold's ideas and significance, Green Fire—Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for our Time is the first ever full-length, high definition film about Leopold. The movie explores Aldo Leopold's life in the context of American conservation and environmental history, while also illustrating how Leopold's legacy lives on today in the work of people and organizations across the nation and around the world. The Public Screening License edition is designed specifically for classroom use.
Discussion Guide for the Green Fire film by the Aldo Leopold Foundation (Adobe PDF format)
The Leopold Education Project
The Leopold Education Project is an interdisciplinary environmental education and conservation curriculum. LEP includes a collection of activities, lessons, and teacher-friendly resources designed to help get youth and their families outdoors learning about nature, using Leopold’s ideas as a starting place. Activities are closely linked to Aldo Leopold’s classic book, A Sand County Almanac, and many are designed for use in an outdoor education setting.
Land Ethic Leaders Program
In A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold set forth his most enduring idea, the “land ethic,” a moral responsibility of humans to the natural world. To build an inclusive land ethic that continues to grow, we need leaders who are deeply committed to rolling up their sleeves and building a land ethic at the grassroots level in communities everywhere. The Aldo Leopold Foundation developed the Land Ethic Leader program as a way to catalyze land ethic leadership at the community level by convening people to ask big questions about the relationship between people and nature, give training and practice in having conversations about conservation rather than arguments, and stimulate deeper thinking among participants about how they can be agents of change to advance the land ethic. Watch an overview of the program on the webinars page.
My Healthy Woods
Using stories from real landowners and non-technical language, the My Healthy Woods handbooks are designed to be a user-friendly guide to land management. The My Healthy Woods handbooks cover a broad range of land management topics with additional resources for more information. Our future enjoyment of a rich and beautiful landscape is only guaranteed through action. These handbooks are designed to help landowners see new opportunities to care for their land. The handbooks were produced in partnership with the American Forest Foundation's Center for Conservation Solutions. Aldo Leopold Foundation ecologist Steve Swenson has written and co-authored handbooks for:
This list of Aldo Leopold Foundation-developed resources is really just a starting place for learning more about Leopold. There is a plethora of additional material to explore! Click on the categories below to explore our comprehensive listing of additional educational resources for various age levels.