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Steve Swenson

Program Director

608-355-0279, ext. 29

I have spent my career advancing the relationship between people and land. As the Director of Conservation for the Leopold Foundation, I direct the Science and Stewardship Program at the Leopold Shack and Farm, a National Historic Landmark. This work serves as the basis for partnership and communication with private landowners and resource professionals throughout the Midwest.

On a regional level, I have authored a series of landowner handbooks covering southern and western Wisconsin, southeast Minnesota, and southern Arkansas, to reach more than 30,000 landowners owning six million acres of land. These handbooks help further the journey of landowners in their relationship to land by providing both perspective and practical information.

Locally, I help coordinate the Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area partnership, comprised of federal, state, and private lands. This partnership, which in total manages 16,000 acres, offers a great example of how science, communication, and relationships can deliver tangible conservation success.

In the years I’ve been here, I’ve witnessed and helped the foundation evolve. From 2005 to 2007, I coordinated the harvest from the Leopold property of 100,000 board-feet of lumber that is now incorporated into the Leopold Center. I also have many years of experience in land care including prairie restoration, prescribed burning, timber management, invasive species control, data collection, and management planning.

I hold a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and biology from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and a master’s degree in plant ecology from Ohio State University.