2017: Bridging the Urban-Rural Divide

Our 2017 Building a Land Ethic Conference was hosted primarily at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County and spanned three days, beginning at 1:00 pm on Thursday, June 22, and ending at 4:00 pm on Saturday, June 24. We also offered pre-conference workshops on Wednesday, June 21.

The overall theme for the 2017 conference was “Bridging the Urban-Rural Divide.”


  • Will Allen shared how urban farming is renewing neighborhoods in addition to providing access to healthy food.
  • Peter Forbes illuminated how the work of bridging divides has to grow from mutual respect, listening and dialog across difference.

Additional Programs

  • Stan Temple facilitated a panel discussion with Nancy DeLong, Steve Laubach, and Eduardo Santana Castellon examining how water both connects and divides urban and rural communities.
  • Curt Meine facilitated a panel discussion with Michael Howard, Jay Salinas, and Carla Wright on how food can be the common connection that helps us strengthen our relationships with the land.
  • Buddy Huffaker facilitated a panel discussion with Leopold family members Caryl Smith, Trish Stevenson, and Jed Meunier to highlight the legacy of Aldo Leopold’s eldest daughter Nina Leopold Bradley.
  • Les Stroud, known as the host of the popular television show Survivorman, shared his musical talents by performing a live show at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells.
  • Concurrent session presentations explored Leopold’s ideas in youth education, conservation projects and partnerships, art, science, and community engagement.
  • Pre-conference activities included a workshop for educators on the Leopold Education Project curriculum, and tours of the Leopold Shack and Farm and Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area.

Download the 2017 conference program (PDF) for complete conference details.

Conference at a Glance

Conference infographic