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Leopold Week  •  Virtual Programming


Bringing the Virtual Shack Tour to Life

Lifelong readers of A Sand County Almanac are often brought to tears when they first see the Leopold Shack in person. Students, from elementary to graduate school, find inspiration and connection to nature at the Leopold Shack. Family members still gather at the Leopold Shack to share a meal and take in the landscape. Visitors passing through learning of Leopold and the Shack for the first time leave tours feeling inspired to deepen their personal relationships with nature.

And now, the essence of the Leopold Shack and Farm will be accessible everywhere in the all-new virtual tour.

Screenshot of the virtual Shack tour homepage

The decision to embark on the creation of a virtual tour was an easy one. For years, professors have inquired about a way to share the physical space that inspired A Sand County Almanac. We also know there are folks unable to travel to Baraboo, WI that are interested in learning more about the time the Leopold family spent on this land. There was no question that a virtual tour capturing the essence of this physical place would open up new avenues of inspiration.

ALF Executive Director Buddy Huffaker filmed for the virtual Shack tour by Pop Pop Digital

The decision of what exactly to include in the first-ever virtual tour of the Leopold Shack and Farm was not so simple. We called on Leopold tour guides, scholars, and enthusiasts to boil down the essential elements of a Leopold Shack and Farm tour and settled on a few key stops of a Shack tour.

Over a few days in the summer of 2021, we invited Madison-based video production company Pop Pop Digital to the Leopold property to film our virtual tour guides McCale Carter, Buddy Huffaker, Dr. Stan Temple, Alan Anderson, Kei Kohmoto and Annie Edwards. These top-notch tour guides shared facets of the Leopold legacy including land restoration at the Shack, Aldo Leopold’s professional journey, the importance of family bonding at the Shack, and how the Aldo Leopold Foundation continues the Leopold legacy today.

Future Leaders Fellows Kei Kohmoto and Annie Edwards serve as virtual tour guides at the “Good Oak” tour stop

But we didn’t stop there. The all-new virtual Shack tour also features:

  • A property map, so you can explore the land surrounding the Shack through a few key stops.
  • Video tour guides at four key stops that share the Leopold story, enhanced with reinvigorated historic photos.
  • 360 photos of the inside of the Shack that allow virtual visitors to explore every nook of the National Historic Landmark.
  • Never-before-seen footage of the Leopold siblings discussing the importance of the Shack in their lives.
  • Moments of reflection after each stop that encourage you to consider how the case study of the Leopold Family and their Shack and Farm can inform your own meaningful connection to nature

Virtual tour creator & ALF’s virtual program coordinator, Kyra Lyons

I’ve learned a little more about the Leopold Shack and Farm at each stage of creating the virtual Shack tour. At the heart of each lesson is connection. Connection to the past, to nature, and to each other—even across geographic divides. I’m thrilled to share the virtual Shack tour and the story of the Leopold family with you, wherever you may be.

Get ready to discover the Leopold Shack and Farm in a brand new way! I hope you’ll join me, alongside special guests, for the world premiere of the Shack tour in celebration of Aldo Leopold’s 136th birthday, on January 11, 2023 at 7 PM CST: crowdcast.io/c/virtualtour

Behind-the-scenes photography of virtual Shack tour filming taken by Jackson Newman. Special thanks to Pop Pop Digital for lending their video production talents to this project. Thank you to the Kohler Trust for Preservation and the Boldt Family Fund for supporting the virtual Shack tour. Funded in part by a grant from Wisconsin Humanities.