Graphic for Madison Reads LeopoldMadison 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 15th-annual free public reading on March 7, 2020, in the Visitor Center, from 9:30 a.m. until about 3:45 p.m.

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. Note: the Freeze for Food Run will pass through the Arboretum, with runners using Arboretum/McCaffrey Drive between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Please allow a little extra time for travel and drive with caution.

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):

  • Sunday, March 1, naturalist-led walk: In Leopold’s Footsteps, 1–2:30 p.m. (This walk is a prelude to Leopold Weekend events.)
  • Friday, March 6, Green Fire movie night, 7–9 p.m. Watch the Aldo Leopold documentary, followed by group discussion and reflection.
  • Sunday, March 8, family nature program: Living Like 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.mWelcome & Foreword – Kathy Miner, naturalist, UW–Madison Arboretum

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

9:47Good Oak I – Madelyn Leopold, community member, and Saraii Slaton, student, Lakeview Elementary School

9:59Good Oak II – Mark Miller, Wisconsin State Senator, District 16

10:08 ­– The Geese Return – Stu Levitan, historian/radio host

10:17Come High Water – Shahla Werner, board member, Wisconsin Friends of John Muir

10:22 Draba – Mary Maxwell, Madison School Forest guide (retired)

10:23Bur Oak – Matt Blessing, Wisconsin Historical Society

10:32Sky Dance – Tim Eisele, freelance outdoor writer & photographer

10:41Back from the Argentine – Elizabeth Sabaka, teacher & environmentalist

10:44The Alder Fork – Phil Bernhardt, hunter, fisherman, & outdoor enthusiast

10:47Great Possessions – Hildy Feen, Friends of the Arboretum supporter

10:52A Prairie Birthday – Joe Goss, business analyst, UW­–Madison, & Barbara Wolfman, Abracadabra Music Studio, LLC

11:04The Green Pasture – Michele Brogunier, former board member, Natural Path Sanctuary

11:09The Choral Copse – Pat Stinger, volunteer steward, UW–Madison Arboretum

11:13Smoky Gold – Levi Wood, naturalist, UW–Madison Arboretum

11:23Too Early – James P. Roberts, Sterling North Society

11:28Red Lanterns – Melanie Crawford, community member & nature enthusiast

11:36If I Were the Wind – Tammy Bieberstein, City of Madison park ranger (retired)

11:38Axe-in-Hand I – Scott Spoolman, environmental writer

11:44Axe-in-Hand II – Rebecca Wallace, US Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory

11:50A Mighty Fortress – Jim Fleming, Chapter a Day/Wisconsin Public Radio

11:58Home Range – Charlotte Meyer, emerita, Edgewood College English Department

12:04 p.m.Pines Above the Snow I – Liz Anna Kozik, science communication fellow, UW–Madison Arboretum

12:08Pines Above the Snow II – Nick Utphall, pastor, Advent Lutheran of Madison Christian Community

12:1965290 – Sylvia Adrian, oblate, Holy Wisdom Monastery


1 Welcome Back – Kathy Miner, naturalist, UW–Madison Arboretum

1:05What Is the Arboretum? (dedication address) – Karen Oberhauser, director, UW–Madison Arboretum

1:13Governor’s Proclamation: Leopold Weekend in Wisconsin – Frieda Schowalter, community member, & Mary Mullen, resident, Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood

1:15Letter to a Wildflower Digger – Jim FitzGibbon, naturalist & former ranger, UW–Madison Arboretum

1:20Wherefore Wildlife Ecology? – Jim Berkelman, Department of Forest & Wildlife Ecology, UW–Madison

1:26Marshland Elegy, part I – Catherine Jagoe, writer

1:34Marshland Elegy, part II – Chuck Quirmbach, innovation reporter, Milwaukee Public Radio

1:42The Sand Counties – Sanny Oberhauser, community member

1:48On a Monument to the Pigeon – Tim Van Deelen, professor, Department of Forest & Wildlife Ecology, UW–Madison

2:00Thinking Like a Mountain – Deb Weitzel, environmental science teacher (retired)

2:05Video Interlude: Found Footage – Leopold Family Fishing Trip, 1927

2:12The Lily – Spencer Johnson, student, UW­–Madison

2:14Flambeau – Eric Knepp, Madison Parks superintendent

2:24The Round River, part I – Lissa McLaughlin, art therapist & fiction teacher

2:30The Round River, part II – Bill Barker, associate dean for research, College of Agricultural & Life Sciences, UW–Madison

2:41The Round River, part III – Gail Epping Overholt, education coordinator, UW–Madison Arboretum

2:52Odyssey, part I – Andrew Wetzel, community member

2:57Odyssey, part II – Theresa Vander Woude, graduate student, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, UW–Madison Arboretum

3:00Land Health & the A/B Cleavage – Sam Hermanstorfer, student, UW–Madison

3:05Defenders of Wilderness – Kimberly Larson, community member

3:08The Community Concept – Susan Carpenter, native plant gardener, UW–Madison Arboretum

3:18The Ecological Conscience – Daryl Sherman, Leopold fan since 1960

3:26Substitutes for a Land Ethic – Richard & Kathleen Kuhnen, community members

3:36The Outlook – Don Ferber, John Muir Chapter, Sierra Club