Wisconsin Aldo Leopold Writing Contest

Leopold Writing Contest winners at the Shack

Aldo Leopold is best known for writing A Sand County Almanac (1949), in which he articulates his vision of a “land ethic” – that people come to “see land as a community to which we belong” and learn to “live on a piece of land without spoiling it.”

A Sand County Almanac book coverAs a work of great literature, A Sand County Almanac powerfully reshapes our understanding of the relationship between people and land. The Wisconsin Aldo Leopold Writing Contest uses Leopold’s ideas to inspire students to participate in the evolution of the land ethic through the written word.

The Contest

Each year students in grades 9 through 12, in public, private, and home schools in Wisconsin are invited to consider a writing prompt or question and create an essay response in 500 words.

Three winning essays are chosen from each category (9th-10th grade and 11th-12th grade). Winning essays are featured on the Aldo Leopold Foundation website and may be printed in The Leopold Outlook magazine. Winners also receive a cash award, a copy of A Sand County Almanac, and memberships to the Aldo Leopold Foundation, International Crane Foundation, and the Aldo Leopold Nature Center. An awards ceremony will take place at the Leopold Center in Baraboo, WI on Saturday, May 19.

2018 Writing Contest Topic

Students are encouraged to read and reference the “Foreword” and other essays from Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac in their responses.

Aldo Leopold loved the land and its wildness. Describe a place in nature that you love.
Why is it wild to you?

The submission deadline has passed. Entries were due March 23, 2018. Winners will be announced in May.

2017 Writing Contest Winners

The 2017 prompt was “Tell us a story of a local leader who exemplifies Leopold’s land ethic.”

View the 2017 winning essays on the blog:

Contest Committee

Special thanks to the committee members for their hard work in the creation, organization, and execution of the 2018 Wisconsin Aldo Leopold Writing Contest:

  • Trish Stevenson
  • Karen Silseth
  • Treva Breuch
  • Tricia Fry
  • Virginia Wiggen
  • Alan Anderson
  • Maria Kopecky

Contest Sponsors

The 2018 Wisconsin Aldo Leopold Writing Contest is presented by: