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A Visionary Conservationist

Who Was Aldo Leopold?

Considered by many to be the father of wildlife ecology and modern conservation, Aldo Leopold was a forester, philosopher, conservationist, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast.

A collage of pieces from the Leopold Archives
Leopold’s Ideas

An Enduring Legacy

Among Aldo Leopold’s best-known ideas is the “land ethic,” which calls for an ethical, caring relationship between people and nature. This land ethic continues to inform our work, values, and goals at the Aldo Leopold Foundation today, just as it informs the work of countless individuals and organizations worldwide – a testament to the power of Leopold’s conservation philosophy.

A black & white portrait of Aldo Leopold outside with his dog
A drawing of a barn swallowA drawing of a barn swallow
The cover of A Sand County Almanac

Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Almanac

There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot.

First published by Oxford University Press in 1949, Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac has become a conservation classic, selling over 2 million copies worldwide and being translated into 15 languages. Leopold spent many years crafting these essays, which inspire readers to understand how the natural world works and to care for all wild things. Informed by his developing philosophies and his family’s effort to transform the landscape surrounding The Shack, the essays make an appeal for moral responsibility to the natural world.

After a series of rejections from various publishers, Leopold’s manuscript was finally accepted by Oxford University Press on April 14th, 1948. Tragically, just one week later, Leopold died of a heart attack while fighting a grass fire less than a hundred yards from where the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center stands today. While Aldo Leopold was writing in the 1940s, he could not have imagined the far-reaching impact his book would have. Admired by an ever-growing number of readers and imitated by hundreds of writers, A Sand County Almanac serves as one of the cornerstones of modern conservation science, policy, and ethics.

Gold quotation marks
our home

Leopold in Wisconsin

Following a U.S. Forest Service transfer to Madison, WI, in 1924, Leopold continued to investigate ecology and the philosophy of conservation, and in 1933 published the first textbook in the field of wildlife management. Later that year, he accepted a new professorship in game management – a first for the University of Wisconsin and the nation.

In 1935, he and his family initiated their own ecological restoration experiment on a worn-out farm outside of Baraboo, WI along the Wisconsin River, known as “The Shack”. During their time there, the family restored prairies and planted tens of thousands of trees.

A black & white photo of a gathering at the Leopold Shack
A black & white photo of Aldo Leopold with students
A black & white portrait of Aldo Leopold
A weathered, ink-stained canvas