This story originally appeared at news.wisc.edu
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum will host the 13th annual Madison Reads Leopold event on Saturday, March 3, featuring a reading of Aldo Leopold’s “A Sand County Almanac” and other writings by the influential conservationist.
The free public event will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Arboretum Visitor Center, 1207 Seminole Highway. After a brief introduction, poet Oscar Mireles will read the Foreword, followed by former Madison Mayor 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.
First published in 1949, “A Sand County Almanac” has prompted generations of people to take better notice – and care – of the natural environment.
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 his family first moved to Madison in 1924; plus students, educators, naturalists, writers, representatives of community organizations, and others.
Arboretum director Karen Oberhauser will lead off the afternoon readings with excerpts from 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.
Leopold was the Arboretum’s first research director and was closely involved in its design; his words remain timely, eloquent and inspiring. 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. Outside food is permitted but must remain in the Visitor Center. Leopold archive materials and artifacts from UW-Madison’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.
Madison Reads Leopold is part of the wider Leopold Weekend. Other events at the Arboretum Visitor Center include:
—Friday, March 2, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: “Green Fire” Brown Bag. Watch and discuss the Leopold documentary film over lunch. Bring your own food and beverage. Free. Register by Feb. 26.
—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, 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.