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Leopold Week  •  Programs and Events

The Aldo Leopold Foundation will be closed to the public for a private event on Saturday, September 30.


Purchasing Leopold’s Childhood Home

The Leopold Landscape Alliance (LLA) is seeking to purchase the birthplace and childhood home of world-renowned conservation pioneer Aldo Leopold. Leopold is known to many as the author of A Sand County Almanac (1949), a collection of essays that defines his concept of a ‘Land Ethic’. These observations have influenced several generations of environmental advocates, conservation professionals, and private landowners around the world to adopt and promote practices that enhance the relationship between humans and the land around us.

Born in 1887 and raised in Burlington, IA, Leopold developed an interest in the natural world at an early age, spending hours observing, journaling, and sketching his surroundings. The people and places that surrounded him during his childhood in Burlington profoundly shaped his future pursuits in the fields of conservation, environmentalism, forestry, and wildlife ecology.

About the Effort

An intrepid band of Aldo Leopold Foundation members in Aldo’s hometown formed the LLA nonprofit several years ago to restore and preserve the landscapes that shaped Aldo Leopold during his youth. They have already raised funds to purchase the home in which the Leopold family lived during the 1890s and have been making it available for tours and other events to interpret local and regional landscapes in Iowa and Illinois that gave Aldo his start as a naturalist. Now the adjacent house on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River—the house in which Aldo was born and into which the family moved in 1890 after Aldo’s grandparents died—has become available, and the Alliance is engaged in an ambitious fund-raising effort to purchase that home too.

Having already secured two matching grants from the State of Iowa and a private fund and other donations that should bring in the first quarter of the funds needed, the LLA is now engaged in a short Crowdwise funding campaign from March 18 to April 12 that will help to spread awareness of the project and qualify them to compete for one of sixteen larger grants through USA Today Network’s program, A Community Thrives. The alliance is already halfway to the $3,000 minimum total donations to qualify, but chances for a larger USA Today grant will be greatly enhanced by an outpouring of modest contributions by the April 12 deadline from Leopold admirers throughout the nation.

In addition to preserving and sharing an important piece of Leopoldian history, purchasing the Leopold house will allow the LLA to pursue their vision of 1) using the property to host an environmental studies and research residency program and 2) creating a resource hub to help private landowners advance landscape-scale conservation. Consider helping the Leopold Landscape Alliance preserve Leopold history by making a contribution today!


The Leopold Landscape Alliance and their work operate independently from the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Please follow the link above to learn more about their nonprofit and their efforts to preserve and promote Aldo Leopold’s legacy in Burlington, IA.