We are very excited to announce a fantastic lineup of keynote speakers and a great schedule for our Building a Land Ethic Conference this August!
The goal of this conference is to convene people from diverse personal and professional backgrounds who share the common goal of wanting to both understand and apply Leopold’s land ethic concept to their work. We invite classroom educators of all levels, conservation professionals, environmental educators, and anyone working to build a land ethic in their communities to join us! Leopold wrote that “nothing so important as an ethic is ever written… it evolves in the minds of a thinking community.” This three-day conference seeks to convene a thinking community through keynote presentations by leading experts, concurrent sessions by peers, and opportunities for attendees to participate in dialog and experiential learning with one another, all in the spirit of Aldo Leopold. We hope you will join us!
Overview of Daily Schedules, Speakers, and Themes
Wednesday, August 12: Leopold Education Project
The Leopold Education Project (LEP) is an interdisciplinary environmental education curriculum based on the essays in A Sand County Almanac. We will be offering both Educator and Facilitator certification as pre-conference workshop options. This workshop will be co-led by Wisconsin LEP State Coordinator Treva Breuch and Arkansas LEP State Coordinators Marc and Suzanne Hirrel.
Thursday, August 13: The Land Ethic – Toward Common Ground with J. Drew Lanham
We are delighted to open the conference with a keynote from noted author and educator Drew Lanham, a Distinguished Alumni Professor and Certified Wildlife Biologist in the School of Agriculture, Forestry and Environmental Sciences at Clemson University in South Carolina, and a member of the Aldo Leopold Foundation Board of Directors. Drew is an avid birder and hunter and an advocate for all things wild in his home state. He is also a longtime fan of Aldo Leopold and writes about Leopold’s influence on his thinking regularly in his blog, Wild and in Color. Drew will address the potential for the land ethic idea to serve as common ground to unite diverse constituencies across the United States and beyond. Following the talk, Drew will help guide small group dialog, reflection and exchange of ideas with participants, concluding with a panel discussion that will continue exploring these themes. On Thursday evening we will host a welcome dinner for conferees, which will include a performance of Jim Pfitzer’s first person Leopold performance, A Standard of Change.
Friday, August 14: Leopold’s Evolving Legacy with Estella Leopold
The Aldo Leopold Foundation is blessed to have had the insights, guidance and wisdom of Aldo Leopold’s five children to both shape and guide our organization since its inception. We are thrilled to create an opportunity to some of those insights with our conference participants! We will kick off day two of the conference with a keynote address from Estella Leopold, Emeritus Professor of Botany and past director of the Quaternary Research Center at the University of Washington, and Lifetime Director on the Board of the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Dr. Leopold was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. Her research interests and publications focus on paleobotany, forest history, restoration ecology, and environmental quality. Most recently, Dr. Leopold was awarded the prestigious Cosmos Prize for her life work in conservation. Estella will share reflections from her time growing up at the Shack with her family and insights on how the experience has shaped her amazing career and lifelong dedication to conservation science. A panel of Leopold scholars will continue the conversation and examine different aspects of Leopold’s legacy, exploring how it has continued to evolve and remain relevant in the 21st century.
Friday will also include field trips to the Leopold Shack and the International Crane Foundation. The night will wrap up with an open house reception at the Leopold Center with food and drink, conversation around the campfire, music, and time to explore the Leopold Center’s trails and exhibits, as well as browse tables hosted by sponsors. (Contact us if you would like more information on tabling!)
Saturday, August 15: Empowering Thinking Communities with David Orr
David Orr is “Counselor to the President” at Oberlin College and the Steven A. Minter fellow at the Cleveland Foundation. He is the author of seven books, including Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse and co-editor of three others. In the past twenty-five years he has served as a board member or adviser to ten foundations and on the Boards of many organizations including the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Aldo Leopold Foundation. David will close out the conference with a message of how our work in building a land ethic through education and conservation efforts brings hope and inspiration for our shared future.
Before David’s talk, we will be shining the spotlight on the members of the “thinking community” with concurrent sessions being led by Leopold ambassadors who are working to build a land ethic with their own audiences. We are still accepting proposals for concurrent sessions, but the deadline is coming up on May 1!
For More Information
Logistical information (including registration fees) are available on the conference website. Registration will open in May. In the meantime, please help us spread the word, contact us if you have any questions, and we hope to see you in August!