Nearly 400 second and third grade students from the Baraboo School District attended a unique theatrical performance last week that introduced them to hometown hero Aldo Leopold and the importance of conservation. The Aldo Leopold Foundation was thrilled to host Kohl’s Wild Theater of Milwaukee at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells as they performed “Aldo Leopold and the Ghost of Sand County,” engaging students through song, puppetry, and an intriguing storyline.
The musical, set at the Leopold Shack, follows the fictitious adventures of the Leopold children as rescue their father from a mysterious ghost, learning some important conservation lessons along the way. Through encounters with iconic Leopold “characters” such as 65290 and the Good Oak, students were encouraged to observe nature without interfering, to take a stand against nature bullies, and to take action for the things they care about.
Aldo Leopold Foundation staff members and Estella Leopold Jr., a featured character in the musical, assisted Kohl’s Wild Theatre with the development of the script and supplemental teacher packet for continued exploration in the classroom before and after the show. Kohl’s Wild Theatre has been performing this musical for students in the greater Milwaukee area since January. Their work is made possible by a partnership among Kohl’s Cares, the Milwaukee County Zoo, and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee.
In addition to thanking Kohl’s Wild Theatre for traveling to Baraboo for this special performance, the Aldo Leopold Foundation would like to thank Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells for donating their venue so that all Baraboo School District second and third grade students could take part in this unique opportunity. Bus transportation was provided by a grant from the Sauk County UW-Extension Arts & Culture Committee, Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from Nature Net, a not-for-profit initiative that provides “one-stop shopping” for environmental education resources for teachers and families of South-Central Wisconsin and beyond.