The Land Ethic Leader Program

2016 workshop dates

At the Leopold Center in Baraboo:

“If you have worked in conservation for a while and are weary, the LEL course provides an opportunity to fill your cup. The course gives you permission to spend time in reflection and contemplation in a format appropriate for a business setting. The foundation has done a good job of cultivating a diversity of messengers for Aldo Leopold's words and ideas. As a result, the work can be unifying and inclusive, regardless of your circumstances or geography.”

-2015 participant

June 2016

Thursday, June 23 and Friday June 24

Cost: $200


August 2016

Friday, August 5 and Saturday, August 6*

Cost (LEL workshop only): $200

Cost (LEL and LEP workshop combined): $250


*Note, we will also be offering a 1-day Leopold Education Project educator training on Thursday, August 4, so that anyone interested may attend both programs.


Click Here to Register!


Land Ethic Leader 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.

“This program teaches you to articulate your own land ethic and help others articulate theirs. The language that we use to describe what is important to us have a lot of power: words are more than the sum of their individual meanings. I would also say the program gives a lot of useful framing for the work that Leopold did, and emphasizes that he wasn't perfect or infallible. He made mistakes. All natural resource conservationists make mistakes. It's how we learn, and it's okay.”

-2013 participant

Why Should You Attend?

Environmental values can be challenging points of difference, but they can also provide avenues for connection. Environmental leadership requires an understanding of both the things that are hard, and the things that are hopeful about how we work to inspire and build a land ethic with others. During the program, you will engage in thoughtful, meaningful discussions around both the challenges to developing an environmental ethic, and the points of connection that may provide common ground for the way forward.

You will benefit in three ways:

1. By taking part in discussions about the big questions around conservation, we'll collectively explore how we can develop our ability to become "Land Ethic Leaders" by understanding the challenges and opportunities to developing an environmental ethic. Discussions are designed to help you 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.

2. Attendees also have a chance to co-lead discussions. In planning and leading your discussion, you will also build on listening and facilitation skills, which are also crucial components to leadership of any kind.

3. The “Observe, Participate, Reflect” model provides a framework to help you think about your approach to any challenge a new and open way. 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.

“Take the opportunity to attend because it will inspire your work for years to come.”

-2014 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.

Registration Fees:

The cost for the 2-day Land Ethic Leader workshop is $200. This includes most of your meals during the program and program materials, including a copy of the Green Fire film licensed for public screening (a $350 value). Travel and lodging is on your own. We have arrangements with a very affordable local hotel in Baraboo, and there are also great camping options nearby as well.

April 2016 Mini-Workshop in Minnesota

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Join us for a special 1-day workshop organized by partners in Lanesboro, Minnesota. The agenda includes a mix of activities, including some basic elements of a Land Ethic Leader workshop.

More information & registration


Contact Anna Hawley at or 608.355.0279, ext. 28 with questions.