Madison Reads Leopold is a community read-aloud celebrating the life and legacy of Aldo Leopold. The event features a diverse lineup of public figures and community members sharing Leopold’s eloquence and wisdom from A Sand County Almanac and other works.

The Arboretum will host the 14th-annual free public reading on March 2, 2019, in the Visitor Center, from 9:30 a.m. until about 3:45 p.m. To make it extra special, this year marks the 70th anniversary of the publication of A Sand County Almanac.

Throughout the day, an eclectic mix of readers—neighbors, naturalists, students, educators, writers, public figures, representatives of community organizations, and others—will give voice to Leopold’s keen observations and eloquent conservation philosophy. Visitors can drop in to hear their favorite essays or stay for the entire event.

First published in 1949, A Sand County Almanac has prompted generations of people to take better notice—and care—of the natural environment. Aldo Leopold was the first research director at the Arboretum and was closely involved in its design.

Madison Reads Leopold is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be available in the Visitor Center lobby. Brown-bagging is permitted but food must remain in the Visitor Center.

Madison Reads Leopold is a community celebration organized for Aldo Leopold Weekend, sponsored by the Aldo Leopold Foundation.

Also for Leopold Weekend (see events calendar for details):

  • Friday, March 1, Green Fire brown bag lunch, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Watch the Aldo Leopold documentary over lunch, followed by a discussion. BYO lunch and beverage.
  • Sunday, March 3, naturalist-led walk: In Leopold’s Footsteps, 1–2:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 3, family nature program: Celebrating Aldo Leopold, 1:30–3:30 p.m.

“What a wonderful event to be part of every year to honor Leopold, and to start to know our ecological community. Thank you for this tradition!” — Reader

Reading Schedule

9:30 a.m. – Welcome & Foreword – Kathy Miner, naturalist, UW–Madison Arboretum

9:40 – January Thaw – Dave Cieslewicz, citizen of Madison

9:47 – Good Oak I – Madelyn Leopold, community member, and Charlotte Isenbarger, 5th-grade student, Randall School

9:59 – Good Oak II – Jim Fleming – Chapter A Day, Wisconsin Public Radio

10:08 – The Geese Return – Mark Miller, Wisconsin State Senator, District 16

10:17 – Come High Water – Frieda Schowalter, community member

10:22 – Draba – Mary Maxwell, environmental caretaker

10:23 – Bur Oak – Melanie Crawford, community member and nature enthusiast

10:32 – Bob McCabe and A Sand County Almanac – Kathy Miner, naturalist, UW–Madison Arboretum

10:36 – Sky Dance – Tim Eisele, freelance outdoor writer and photographer

10:45 – Back from the Argentine – Donna Weber-Harms, retired reading specialist, Juda Schools

10:48 – The Alder Fork – Phil Bernhardt, hunter, fisherman, outdoor enthusiast

10:56 – Great Possessions – Oscar Mireles, executive director, Omega School, and Madison Poet Laureate

11:01 – A Prairie Birthday – Charlotte Meyer, emerita, Edgewood College English Department

11:11 – The Green Pasture – Nadia Alber, director of the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers

11:16 – The Choral Copse – Eric Liljequist, retired teacher, Aldo Leopold School

11:20 – Smoky Gold – Kathleen and Richard Kuhnen, community members

11:30 – Too Early – James Roberts, Sterling North Society

11:35 – Red Lanterns – Ken Cameron, chair, UW–Madison Department of Botany, and director, Wisconsin State Herbarium

11:43 – If I Were the Wind – Patricia Freres Stinger, volunteer steward, UW–Madison Arboretum

11:44 – Axe-in-Hand I – Estelle Katz, naturalist, Madison School Forest

11:50 – Axe-in-Hand II – Daryl Sherman, environmentalist for 65 years (and counting)

11:56 – A Mighty Fortress – Ken Rineer, retired environmental analyst, Public Service Commission

12:04 p.m. – Home Range – Sanny Oberhauser, community member

12:09 – Pines Above the Snow I – Stu Levitan, historian

12:16 – Pines Above the Snow II – Auna Kaufmann-Schwartz, UW–Madison student, and assistant ranger, UW–Madison Aboretum

12:20 – 65290 – Sylvia Adrian, oblate, Holy Wisdom Monastery

12:30 – BREAK

1:00 – Welcome back – Kathy Miner, naturalist, UW–Madison Arboretum

1:05 – What is the Arboretum?* (1934 Dedication address) – Karen Oberhauser, director, UW–Madison Arboretum

1:13 – Letter to a Wildflower Digger* – Jim FitzGibbon, naturalist, UW–Madison Arboretum

1:18 – Wherefore Wildlife Ecology?* – Jim Berkelman, Department of Forest & Wildlife Ecology, UW–Madison

1:24 – Marshland Elegy, part I – Darcy Kind, conservation biologist, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

1:32 – Marshland Elegy, part II – Gail Martinelli, citizen and teacher, and Scott Spoolman, environmental writer

1:40 – The Sand Counties – Nick Utphall, pastor, Advent Lutheran of Madison Christian Community

1:46 – On a Monument to the Pigeon – Joe Goss, business analyst, UW–Madison, and Barbara Wolfman, music educator

1:57 – Musical interlude – Selections from Earth Day Portrait by composer and jazz pianist John Harmon, presented by Jon Becker, arts and education consultant, and founder of Earth/Art Resources, Inc.

2:07 – The Round River, part I* – Tad Pinkerton, emeritus professor of Computer Sciences, UW–Madison

2:12 – The Round River, part II* – Rebecca Wallace, U.S. Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory

2:23 – The Round River, part III* – Chuck Quirmbach, science and innovation reporter, Milwaukee Public Radio

2:34 – Natural History, part I* – Tim Van Deelen, professor, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, UW–Madison

2:41 – Natural History, part II* – Anne Edwardson, oblate, Holy Wisdom Monastery

2:49 – The Lily* – Andrew Wetzel, community member

2:51 – Thinking Like a Mountain – Gail Epping Overholt, education coordinator, UW–Madison Arboretum

2:56 – Cheat Takes Over – Tammy Bieberstein, retired City of Madison park ranger

3:01 – Country – Jon Rosenblum, community member

3:06 – Defenders of Wilderness – Mary Mullen, resident, Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood

3:09 – The Community Concept – Susan Carpenter, native plant gardener, UW–Madison Arboretum

3:19 – The Ecological Conscience – Bill Barker, associate dean for research, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UW–Madison

3:27 – Substitutes for a Land Ethic – Eric Knepp, Madison Parks Superintendent

3:37 – The Outlook – Shahla Werner, board member, Wisconsin Friends of John Muir

*Essays marked with an asterisk are not found in all versions of A Sand County Almanac but may appear in other collections.