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Inspiring all Ages

Leopold Education Project

The Leopold Education Project (LEP) is an interdisciplinary environmental education curriculum that nurtures ecological literacy and a deep respect for nature. Although mainly created for middle school and high school students, it can also be adapted for use with all ages. It aims to disseminate a land ethic, enhance appreciation for nature, deepen scientific knowledge of ecological processes, and foster critical thinking through interactive activities. Through a blend of arts and sciences, the curriculum equips learners with observational, stewardship, and reflective skills.

A color portrait of Aldo Leopold smoking a tobacco pipe
The cover of A Sand County Almanac

Nurturing a Land Ethic

History of the LEP

The Leopold Education Project was originally developed by Council 16, an association of eight Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts. They based their curriculum on the essays found in A Sand County Almanac, as well as activities created by a Wisconsin biology teacher in the late 1980s. Later, the national conservation group, Pheasants Forever, was introduced to the curriculum and saw the potential to share it more widely. In 1994, they adopted LEP as their national educational program and used their ties with chapter groups across the country to organize a network of state coordinators and facilitators who could bring the curriculum to teachers nationwide.

Over the years, a wide array of additional materials was developed and added to the original curriculum. In 2013, Pheasants Forever transferred ownership and distribution of the LEP resources to the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Today, we are fortunate to have a talented and passionate network of volunteer coordinators who lead workshops on LEP materials for educators all over the country.

Leopold Education Project objectives:

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Sharing the Leopold Legacy

To share Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, his legacy, and his writings with educators, students, and families.

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Fostering Nature appreciation

To instill in learners, through direct experience, an appreciation and respect of the natural world so they may develop a positive relationship with the land.

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Enhancing Ecological Literacy

To advance learners’ scientific understanding of the land community’s natural processes so that they may make informed decisions about conservation and land use issues.

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Developing Critical Thinkers

To advance learners’ critical thinking skills through hands-on/minds-on activities.

Land Ethic Education

LEP Curriculum

The Leopold Education Project (LEP) curriculum guide contains 20 interdisciplinary lessons in Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, based on the classic essays in A Sand County Almanac. The lessons, targeted mainly toward middle and high school students, include engaging activities and background information for instructors. However, many lessons may be adapted for use with all ages, as suggested discussion questions help guide individual and group reflection. Students will spend time outdoors honing their skills in reading the landscape through observation and hands-on participation. The curriculum guide is designed for use in both formal classroom environments and as part of non-formal outdoor education experiences.

Optional Exploration Cards are available for purchase as a supplement to the LEP curriculum.

A discussion group at the Leopold Center
Screenshot of Exploration Card Here. (Need from ALF Team)

LEP Curriculum Correlations

A team of LEP State Coordinators has aligned the lessons in the curriculum with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS),  as well as suggested connections with other environmental education curricula. These correlations are listed in a downloadable PDF rather than in the print curriculum, so that we may periodically update them.

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Leopold Education Project papers

Find Your State Coordinator

We’re lucky to have a talented and passionate network of volunteer coordinators who lead workshops on Leopold Education Project materials for educators all over the United States. Browse our directory to find your nearest coordinator.

Amanda Patrick
Harrisburg, IL, United States
Shawnee National Forest
(618) 253-1031
Anne Lewis
Pierre, SD, United States
Discovery Center & Aquarium
(605) 224-8295
Barbara White Beach
Dallas, TX, United States
Bill Faber
Brainerd, MN, United States
Central Lakes College
Brittany Wray
Operations Coordinator
Frankfort, KY, United States
Kentucky Association for Environmental Education
Curt Carter
Jonesboro, IL, United States
Land for Learning Institute
(618) 833-8030
David Garcia
Arlington, VA, United States
(703) 581-9553
Doyle Keasal
Auburn, AL, United States
Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University
(334) 844-6398
Elaine Eisenbraun
Long Creek, OR, United States
Tomorrow's Water
(541) 421-3715
Gail Luera
Ann Arbor, MI, United States
University of Michigan-Dearborn
Jerry Pease
Watersmeet, MI, United States
Watersmeet School District
(406) 570-1525
Kim Kaseman
Toledo, OH, United States
Outdoor Skills Specialist Metroparks of the Toledo Area
(419) 708-5201
Luann Sewell Waters
Education Specialist
Wynnewood, OK, United States
(405) 642-9232
Marc and Suzanne Hirrel
Little Rock, AR, United States
LEP-Arkansas LLC, University of Central Arkansas (retired)
(501) 224-9419
Melissa Arthur
Director of Operations
Perry, KS, United States
Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education
(785) 597-5452
Mike Jabot
Professor of Science Education & Director of the Institute for Research in Science Teaching
Fredonia, NY, United States
State University of New York
(716) 320-0189
Nancy Thompson
Sumter, SC, United States
(803) 983-7811
Peggy Eppig
Havre de Grace, MD, United States
Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation
(410) 939-9030
Randy Senzig
Raleigh, NC, United States
Center for Human-Earth Restoration
(919) 270-9682
Rob Hawk
Jackson and Swain County Extension Director
Sylva, NC, United States
(828) 586-4009
Steve Priest
Medicine Bow, WY, United States
(740) 404-4458
Susan Setterlin
Columbus, OH, United States
Columbus Audubon
(614) 457-8130
Susie Ruby
Sperry, OK, United States
(918) 261-4341
Teresa Higgins
Assistant Professor of Biological & Elementary Science Education
Greeley, CO, United States
School of Biological Sciences, University of Northern Colorado
(970) 351-2617
Teri Rogoway
Coordinator of Interpretive Programs
San Jose, CA, United States
Santa Clara County Open Space Authority
(408) 224-7476 ext.16
Treva Breuch
Middleton, WI, United States
(608) 238-3212
Vince Gresham
South Bend, IN, United States
(574) 271-3294
Yancey Ranspot
Albuquerque, NM, United States
U.S. Forest Service

Request Free Teaching Tools

In order to continually improve and track the use of our educational materials, we ask for a minimum of contact information before downloading our free teaching tools. The Aldo Leopold Foundation will not share or sell your contact information; however, we may notify you in the future as we develop new or updated educational resources.

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