Madison Reads Leopold Celebrates the Conservationist on Saturday, March 3


Madison Reads Leopold is a community event celebrating the works of the great conservationist during Aldo Leopold Weekend. The UW–Arboretum will host the 13th-annual free public reading from A Sand County Almanac and other Leopold writings on Saturday, March 3, 2018, at the Visitor Center starting at 9:30 a.m. After a brief introduction, poet Oscar Mireles will read the Foreword, followed by Dave Cieslewicz reading “January Thaw.” The last essay reading is scheduled to end around 3:45 p.m.

Throughout the day, an eclectic mix of public figures and community readers will give voice to Leopold’s keen observations and eloquent conservation philosophy. Listeners can drop in and out to hear favorite essays or stay for the entire event. Readers include Wisconsin Public Radio personalities Jim Fleming and Chuck Quirmbach; Madelyn Leopold, daughter of Luna Leopold and granddaughter of Aldo; Ron Seely of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism; a staff member from the USDA Forest Products Laboratory, where Leopold worked when the family first moved to Madison in 1924; plus students, educators, naturalists, writers, representatives of community organizations, and others. First published in 1949, A Sand County Almanac has prompted generations of people to take better notice – and care – of the natural environment.

Arboretum director Karen Oberhauser will lead off the afternoon readings with excerpts from Aldo Leopold’s speech at the Arboretum’s dedication ceremony on June 17, 1934.

At approximately 2 p.m., songwriter Ken Lonnquist will perform “A Song County Almanac,” songs inspired by Leopold. Lonnquist performs widely for children and adults and writes about nature and environmental issues.

Aldo Leopold was the Arboretum’s first research director and closely involved in its design; his words are as timely, eloquent, and inspiring today as when he penned them. The Madison event will include the well-known “calendar” essays, as well as other pieces chosen for their relevance to the Arboretum, UW–Madison, and the state.

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. Leopold archive materials and artifacts from the UW’s extensive collection will be on display.

A full schedule of readers and essays is available on the Arboretum website. Reading times are approximate; listeners wishing to hear a particular reader should arrive at least 10 minutes before the scheduled time.

Also for Leopold Weekend:

  • Friday, March 2, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.: Green Fire Brown Bag. Watch and discuss the Aldo Leopold documentary film over lunch. BYO food and beverage. Free. Register by February 26 at
  • Sunday, March 4, 1–2:30 p.m.: In Leopold’s Footsteps. Learn about Leopold’s phenological work and role at the Arboretum. Free naturalist-led walk.
  • Sunday, March 4, 1:30–3:30 p.m.: Celebrating Aldo Leopold. As a boy, Leopold read, explored the land, kept notes, and drew sketches. During this family nature program we’ll investigate the Arboretum and create journals for observations and drawings.

Leopold Weekend in Wisconsin began in Lodi in 2000, and six years later it became a designated state observance. The first weekend in March was chosen because Leopold appended the date “4th March, 1948” to his Almanac foreword. It would be his last writing for the work, since he died unexpectedly six weeks later.

Considered the birthplace of ecological restoration, the UW–Madison Arboretum is a teaching and research facility that conserves and restores land, advances science, offers public outreach, and benefits from community involvement. The 1,200-acre grounds are home to protected prairies, woodlands, wetlands, savannas, springs, shoreline, a notable horticultural collection, and Wisconsin native plant gardens. It also offers more than 17 miles of walking trails and 4 miles of biking road as well as hundreds of learning and volunteer opportunities. The Arboretum is located between Lake Wingra and the West Beltline Highway. The main entrance is at 1207 Seminole Highway. The Visitor Center is open weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekends from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Arboretum admission is free.

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Contact: Susan Day, Arboretum communications coordinator, (608) 265-3355 or; or Kathy Miner, Madison Reads Leopold event coordinator, (608) 233-2425 or