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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.”
As 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.
Participants are also encouraged to become involved with a local Leopold Weekend celebration, happening throughout Wisconsin from March 3 to 5, 2017.
The topic for the 2017 Wisconsin Aldo Leopold Writing Contest is based upon Aldo Leopold’s “Land Ethic” essay from A Sand County Almanac:
Tell us the story of a local leader who exemplifies Leopold’s land ethic
You may interpret “local” as someone who lives as nearby as your own neighborhood, or who resides and works elsewhere in Midwest region of the United States.
To be successful, you will need to read and understand the “The Land Ethic” essay in A Sand County Almanac and convey that understanding in your writing. Participants are also encouraged to explore other writings by Aldo Leopold as part of your preparation.
Download “The Land Ethic” essay in PDF format:
All students enrolled in grades 9 to 12 in public, private, and home schools in the state of Wisconsin are eligible. Students must submit original work. One entry per person.
The essay should be 500 words or less in length.
All essays must be typed in 12 pt font, double spaced, and submitted electronically. If you run into trouble submitting your essay online, please contact .gro.1485101709dlopo1485101709elodl1485101709a@tse1485101709tnocg1485101709nitir1485101709w1485101709
The writer’s name may not appear anywhere on the manuscript to allow for blind judging.
Submissions must be sent by 11:59 pm on March 17, 2017. Entries submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
Contest winners will be notified in May 2017, and will receive the following:
An awards ceremony will take place at the Leopold Center in Baraboo, WI, on Saturday, May 20, 2017.
Winning essays will be featured on the Leopold Foundation website and may also be printed in The Leopold Outlook, the Aldo Leopold Foundation’s member magazine.
Would you like to explore this year’s essay topic in depth with your students? We’ve compiled these resources and lessons for teachers as a guide.
Readings and lessons on the land ethic:
View the winning essays from the 2016 writing contest:
Download a flyer to print and share!
The 2017 Wisconsin Aldo Leopold Writing Contest is presented by: