U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Partnership - Land Ethic Leaders

The Aldo Leopold Foundation is partnering with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to offer a series of Land Ethic Leader workshops at National Wildlife Refuges across the country in 2012 and 2013. The workshops use Aldo Leopold's idea of a land ethic as a powerful platform for opening up a dialog between participants, strengthening and building relationships and providing tools for engaging various audiences. The goal of these workshops is to bring together a wide range of participants to build new relationships and rally around environmental values and actions. During the workshop participants be recharged and revitalized by one another. After, they will return to their work with new tools, ideas, and relationships to help them connect people more deeply with the natural world and build strong new partnerships.

Who should attend? Each NWR host site will determine an invite list that will include FWS and Refuge staff, Friends Group contacts, conservation professionals, educators, students and other community environmental leaders and partners. If you would like to learn more and inquire about being invited to a particular session, please get in touch with the point of contact for that session. Each session is limited to 25 participants.

Program Costs and Agenda

Funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service covers most of the cost of registration, meals, and program materials for all invited participants. You must cover your own travel and lodging, and some workshops have a nominal fee ($25) to hold your seat. We will send a specific detailed agenda for each individual workshop about 1 week in advance of the program dates, but here is a rough schedule overview that applies to all sessions:

Day 1: Late afternoon/early evening: Welcome and introductions, watch and discuss the Green Fire film.
Day 2: 8am-7pm. Program overview, Land Ethic activity, and an environmental service project for the host site. Activities are interspersed with a series of reflective discussions, some of which will be participant-led. Timing includes optional dinner and social hour. (Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided)
Day 3: 8am-5pm. Additional instruction and practice in reflective discussion model, further participant-led discussions, outdoor experience (hike, paddle, etc), program application/planning time, group closing and evaluations. (Breakfast and lunch provided)

2013 Upcoming Sessions:

November: Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

Portland, OR

Dates: Monday, Nov. 18 - Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 (begins early evening of first day)
Location: Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge
19255 SW Pacific Hwy
Sherwood, OR   97140
Point of contact: Jennifer Kobylecky, lead program facilitator: jennifer@aldoleopold.org or 608.355.0279, dial 1 then 27 (office) or 608.434.7994 (cell).

Download Tualatin program flyer.

Register for Workshop


December: Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge

Denver, CO

Dates: Wednesday, Dec. 4 - Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 (begins early evening of first day)
Location: Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
6550 Gateway Road
Building 121
Commerce City, CO 80022
Point of contact: Jeannine Richards, lead program facilitator: jeannine@aldoleopold.org or 608.355.0279, dial 1 then 25 (office) or 608.393.7352 (cell).

Download RMANWR program flyer.

Register for Workshop


What is Land Ethic Leaders?

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. “Nothing so important as an ethic is ever ‘written,’” he wrote, indicating that
instead it should evolve “in the minds of a thinking community.” We designed the Land Ethic Leaders program
around exactly this idea: enabling community leaders to create opportunities for rich and productive dialogue
about how and why people value nature. The program is rooted in Leopold’s own method of engaging his
family and students in developing a personal land ethic—observing the natural world through scientific inquiry,
participating in purposeful work on the land, and reflecting on these experiences. Observe, Participate, Reflect is a
flexible framework that connects you more deeply to your own environmental values, and can also be brought back
to your professional networks and program outlets, building your programmatic toolbox with ideas and methods
that will help you inspire and deepen connections between people and the natural world. Leopold’s land ethic idea will be a powerful jumping-off point for our two and a half days together.

The Value of Reflection

Much of the discussion of environmental issues in American society today focuses on identifying problems and
formulating solutions. It is prescriptive rather than reflective. Very little time or space is given to contemplating
the root causes of these problems, their ethical implications, or our personal and communal connections with
the natural world. Working on conservation—whether through education, community outreach, research, or
restoration—can be gratifying, but it can also be emotionally draining. The Land Ethic Leaders program attempts
to directly address this issue by giving you a chance to explore, understand, and reaffirm your beliefs and values
among a diverse group, building clarity, commitment and community to help carry you forward in your work.

Goals of the Program

  • Building Leaders: Find the Land Ethic Leader within you. Explore, renew, and deepen your own personal connections to the land, recharging your batteries so you can go on to inspire others and help to connect your audiences to shared conservation values.
  • Connecting to Nature and Each Other: Learn to use observation, participation, and reflection as a systematic method to explore and deepen your own land ethic in relationship to the land ethic of others.
  • Recognizing Common Values Across Divides: Engage with a community of your peers from other organizations throughout Southeast Louisiana. Learn how the Observe, Participate, Reflect model can help build bridges and build community connections around positive relationships to the land.

What You’ll Take Away

  • Facilitation skills to guide community conversations about conservation values;
  • Ideas for using the film Green Fire to spark dialogue in your community;
  • New friends and connections nearby, plus access to a network of over 200 Land Ethic Leaders across the country and around the world; and
  • Renewal and recommitment to your own personal land ethic, and the confidence and inspiration to help others develop theirs



Register for Workshop