The Land Ethic Leaders Program

“I am grateful for the direction in which this points. As I move into the second half of life—as a woman and educator—the draw towards this kind of work is strong.  Thank you—this was wonderful on many levels for me!!”

-June 2010 participant

Upcoming workshops:

We will announce 2016 workshop dates soon. Typically we host two open call sessions of the program at the Leopold Center each year, one in June and one in August. Please subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter to be notified of dates as soon as they are announced!


Program Overview

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. Aldo Leopold’s land ethic idea is extremely relevant in today’s society, but it can be difficult to define, discuss, and implement. To even begin that monumental task, we need leaders who are deeply committed to rolling up their sleeves and building a land ethic at the grassroots level in communities everywhere.

Land Ethic Leaders equips participants with tools to both introduce Leopold’s land ethic to a wider audience and also to deepen understanding and engagement through dialog about the meaning and value of conservation. Our “Observe, Participate, Reflect” framework is based in Leopold’s own method of building a land ethic with his family and students. During the two day training, participants explore and deepen their own land ethic together through outdoor observation, environmental service, and reflective discussions. Afterwards, they walk away with new relationships, tools, ideas and facilitation skills to inspire creative ways to bring the land ethic back home.

“It has deepened my understanding that the Land Ethic is tied up with self-awareness and taking individual, personal responsibility. The discussion of this framed it in terms that were fresh and illuminating for me.”

-September 2010 participant

Why Should You Attend?

Environmental conservation work can be gratifying, but it can also be emotionally draining as we grapple daily with tough questions. “How do we stop climate change?” “How do we connect an increasingly urban population to an increasingly threatened natural world?” These are important questions that deserve our attention, but when we focus too much on procedure we lose sight of, or forget to ask, the reflective questions that nurture us and connect us with the deeper meaning of our work that can sustain us over time. “How do we value the natural world?” “What is responsible action?” “What do we need from nature and what does it need from us?”

The “Observe, Participate, Reflect” model provides a framework to help you facilitate values-based discussions in a new and open way, allowing you to come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of your own views as well as those that differ, a critical skill for engaging with your community back home. The program will recharge you by building clarity, commitment and community around environmental values to help carry you forward in your work. It also gives you a set of tools to help spark dialogue about the land ethic in your community, including our EMMY® award-winning Green Fire documentary about Aldo Leopold and much more.

“Now I feel much more confident about my ability to discuss, and not debate, issues that I feel passionate about. I loved meeting knowledgeable people and realizing that our shared values were more than enough to overcome any age/experience differences.”

-September 2010 participant

Schedule and meals:

A detailed agenda will be sent to program participants prior to the program, but the rough agenda for all Land Ethic Leaders programs is as follows:
Day one: 9am - 5:30pm. Includes lunch and optional group dinner at the end of the day.
Day two: 8am - 5pm. Includes breakfast and lunch.
You must be able to attend the full two day training. Partial attendance (e.g., one day only) is not possible.


Contact Jennifer Kobylecky at or 608.355.0279, ext. 27 with questions.