Friday Workshops

Participants in a Leopold workshop.

Workshop Options and Descriptions

On Friday afternoon, we’ll get hands-on with some in-depth learning opportunities. You must select your Friday workshop options at the time of registration. You may either choose one of the four hour workshops, or two of the two hour workshops. Lunch is provided with workshops. Some workshops have a registration fee to cover the costs of materials and instruction.


Four Hour Workshops (12:00 pm to 4:00 pm)

Mini Land Ethic Leaders Workshop (free)

Led by Aldo Leopold Foundation staff

Land Ethic Leaders workshop participants reflect in the prairie.The Aldo Leopold Foundation’s Land Ethic Leaders program prepares participants to connect wider audiences to Leopold’s land ethic, and helps them deepen their own understanding of this idea. This workshop is an adaptation of our full two day program, which uses Leopold’s own teaching method of “observe, participate, reflect” to help us build a deeper understanding and appreciation of our own environmental views and values as well as those that differ. Workshop participants will come away with new relationships, tools, ideas, and facilitation skills for articulating their vision; bringing their values into action; and inspiring others to do the same. Limit 50.

*Previously trained Leopold Education Project Educators who are interested in becoming Facilitators may do so by attending this workshop. Please follow up with Maria Kopecky if you are interested.

A Sand County Saunter: Walking Wildly with Leopold and Thoreau ($25)

Led by Jack Phillips, Loess Hills Nature School

Jack PhillipsAldo Leopold begins A Sand County Almanac with a walk. He follows the trail of a skunk roused from hibernation and hitched to a star. Around a hundred years before Leopold followed that skunk, Thoreau’s “Walking” essay foreshadowed Leopold’s ethical vision. Freedom and wildness are found by a particular way of walking that Thoreau refers to as sauntering. Sauntering is not walking for exercise or to reach a destination, neither is it aimless. Like a skunk hitched to a star, it has intention and direction, but the destination remains mysterious and the possibilities, infinite. This workshop will explore Sauntering as a way to learn, teach, and embrace nature in the spirit of Leopold and Thoreau. The registration cost will include a copy of A Pocket Guide to Sauntering. Limit 20.

What’s Your Story? Place-based Nature Writing and Conservation Advocacy ($25)  – FULL

Led by J. Drew Lanham, Clemson University

Drew LanhamPlace and personal story are the spark and fuel for evocative conservation communication. How do we find the inspiration in the nature of our own home places to effectively transform words into poems, essays and move beyond beautiful literature to action? We’ll sit in the shadow of the Shack to learn fun and innovative writing techniques for composing essays, free form verse and even social media messaging. Join Drew Lanham, author of the award winning memoir, The “Home Place” for a 4 hour interactive nature writing workshop. Participants should bring writing tools (electronic or paper) and be prepared to share their work with one another and the world. Limit 15.

Witnessing the Urban-Rural Divide ($25)

Led By Rebecca Power and John Steines

A witness tree was created at the 2015 Leopold conference.

A Witness Tree was co-created by attendees at the 2015 conference.

Witness Tree is an ongoing community conversation founded in 2013 by John Steines, Rebecca Power and other local artists, educators and engaged citizens. Over the past four years Witness Tree has hosted eleven events that integrate the languages of art, science, public policy, and personal decision-making in the kind of adaptive and resilient dialog necessary for human health, community vitality, and ecosystem conservation. In this workshop, John and Rebecca will 1) share some of the foundational principles of Witness Tree and how they relate to Leopold’s Land Ethic, 2) illustrate how they have brought those concepts to life in art and conversation, and 3) engage participants in a creative conversation (that includes art-making) exploring the conference theme, Bridging the Urban-Rural Divide. Materials will be provided, and, participants are encouraged to bring their own personal materials for prayer/hope ribbons and quotes related to the conference theme. More detailed instructions will be provided upon registration. Limit 30.


Two Hour Workshops (11:00 am to 1:00 pm)

Partnering and Collaborating with Diverse Networks to Connect Youth to Nature ($25)

Led by Nicole Jackson, Natural Leaders Network

Leopold conference speaker Nicole JacksonNatural Leaders are a network of young leaders working to increase equitable access to nature in their communities. They do this work both officially and as volunteers in various organizations all over the country from non-profit to government agencies. Natural Leader Nicole Jackson will highlight the work she’s done in her community to help people connect to nature in their backyards. This session will focus on networking, collaboration, and nature connection strategies in urban areas for educators, community leaders and non-profit organizations. Limit 20.

Introduction to Land Ethic Leaders (free)

Led by Leopold Education Project State Coordinators Treva Breuch, Celeste Prussia, and Rob Hawk

Land Ethic Leaders discussionThe Aldo Leopold Foundation’s Land Ethic Leaders (LEL) program aims to explore—through observing, participating, and reflecting—what it takes to advance the land ethic today and how we can engage thinking communities about issues that matter. This two-hour workshop will introduce participants to the program’s core framework and provide an opportunity for group exploration of environmental leadership and the land ethic. Limit 36.

*Previously trained Leopold Education Project Educators who are interested in becoming Facilitators may do so by attending this workshop. Please follow up with Maria Kopecky if you are interested.

Introduction to the Leopold Education Project (free)

Led by Leopold Education Project State Coordinators Marc Hirrel, Dana Livingston, and Gail Luera.

The Leopold Education Project (LEP) is an innovative, interdisciplinary conservation and environmental education curriculum for middle and high school age children based on the essays in A Sand County Almanac. Join three of our LEP State Coordinators to learn more about the project, our newly-updated curriculum guide, and how it can be applied to the learners in your life. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to try out and take home sample lessons, as well as helpful tips and tricks from our experienced State Coordinators. Limit 36.

Creating a Community Outdoor Education Project (free)

Led by Todd Persche, Baraboo Range Preservation Association and Professor Dave Olson, UW-Baraboo

Todd Persche and crew working on an oak woodland restoration.Check out the UW-Baraboo Campus Arboretum project on the grounds outside the conference buildings. Now in its third year, this oak woodland restoration effort has involved over 500 students. We’ll talk about the work we’ve done here, and Todd and Dave will help you to identify potential projects in your community that can act as an incubator for weaving green space into the fabric of more sustainable neighborhoods. Limit 20.


Two Hour Workshops (2:00 pm to 4:00 pm)

Mode of Inquiry: Drawing from Direct Observation ($5)

Led by Bethann Moran-Handzlik, University of Wisconsin–Whitewater

A plein air painting at a Leopold event.Using a reed pen and walnut ink, participants will be guided in a drawing exercise, from direct observation. We will draw natural organisms both life scale and microscopic. While drawing, ideas regarding “ideation through observation,” “wonder as a catalyst for action” and “embodied intelligence” will be introduced. The session will conclude with a group discussion of the drawings and how through drawing the natural world, one can glean scientific information, poetic expression, increase curiosity and inspire innovations. At a time when our culture is immersed in mediated experiences and knowledge based approaches, this exercise rekindles an intimate discovery of the complexity and order of the natural world that is often taken for granted. Each participant will leave with a drawing driven by discovery, personal fascination and will potentially open new modes of inquiry. No skill in drawing is required. Limit 25.

Cultivating, Enabling, and Supporting Leopoldian Land Stewards (free)

Led by Wendell Gilgert and Geoff Geupel, Point Blue Conservation Science

Wendell GilgertOne of the goals of the Point Blue Conservation Science’s Rangeland Watershed Initiative is to cultivate “Leopoldian Land Stewards” on the ranches they manage and operate. This workshop will invite attendees to discover and contribute to a list of Leopoldian Land Stewardship attributes, whether their individual traits or how to identify stewardship attributes of others. In addition, we will explore techniques to cultivate, enhance, and enable those stewardship qualities when thinking about or actively engaging the land ethic. Limit 30.

Introduction to the Leopold Education Project (free)

Led by Leopold Education Project State Coordinators Marc Hirrel, Dana Livingston, and Gail Luera.

The Leopold Education Project (LEP) is an innovative, interdisciplinary conservation and environmental education curriculum for middle and high school age children based on the essays in A Sand County Almanac. Join three of our LEP State Coordinators to learn more about the project, our newly-updated curriculum guide, and how it can be applied to the learners in your life. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to try out and take home sample lessons, as well as helpful tips and tricks from our experienced State Coordinators. Limit 36.

Creating a Community Outdoor Education Project (free)

Led by Todd Persche, Baraboo Range Preservation Association and Professor Dave Olson, UW-Baraboo

Todd Persche and crew working on an oak woodland restoration.Check out the UW-Baraboo Campus Arboretum project on the grounds outside the conference buildings. Now in its third year, this oak woodland restoration effort has involved over 500 students. We’ll talk about the work we’ve done here, and Todd and Dave will help you to identify potential projects in your community that can act as an incubator for weaving green space into the fabric of more sustainable neighborhoods. Limit 20.