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. Published in 2016, this guide consolidates the best lessons from the wide array of resources developed for LEP throughout its history, including content adapted from Lessons in a Land Ethic (1994), Exploring the Outdoors with Aldo Leopold (2009), and the Habitat Discovery Series (2014).
The consolidation project combined similar lessons from the various LEP resources; ensured that lessons are easy to implement in all environments; and strengthened ties to Leopold’s style of teaching and learning through observation, participation, and reflection.
The lessons include background information for instructors, and engaging activities that get students outdoors – helping them hone their skills in reading the landscape through observation and hands-on participation. Suggested discussion questions help guide individual and group reflection.
The curriculum guide is designed for use in both formal classroom environments and as part of non-formal outdoor education experiences. Lessons are targeted mainly toward middle school and high school age students, but many lessons may be adapted for use with families, adults, and elementary age children.
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.
Supplement your LEP curriculum with a set of Leopold Exploration Cards: 28 cards to help educators connect people of all ages with the natural world. Each card features a short quote from A Sand County Almanac, paired with a simple activity prompt.
These cards are a great complement to any LEP lesson and can be ordered through our online store.
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 activities created by a Wisconsin biology teacher who shared his “Sand County biology” lessons with students throughout the late 1980s.
Later, the national conservation group, Pheasants Forever, was introduced to the curriculum and saw 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.