Citizens of the Land

In a converted chicken coop on the banks of the Wisconsin River, the Aldo Leopold family spent summers on the parcel that became the laboratory for an experiment in ecological restoration, ethics, and citizenship. Leopold’s Land Ethic, born on that spent farm in the 1940s, quickly became the manifesto of the nascent conservation movement that continues to animate our movement to this day:

“The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land….In short, the land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land to plain member and citizen of it.”

The Land Ethic

New Tree School recently spent a fine Saturday on Leopold’s land and the surrounding preserve. The theme of the day was Backyard Ecology: The Land Ethic at Home. We explored the woods and shared ideas about preserving nature and cultivating native ecology of our homes, neighborhoods, and communities. The restored native community of the Leopold property that began with Aldo and his family (and still under the care of the family foundation) gave us hope and direction. We concluded the day with a visit to the shack.

We will continue our work in the spirit of Leopold in our June and July workshops. Please visit the “Offerings” page for the updated 2015 schedule of Workshops and Saunters. Together our vision, native intimacy, and citizenship will grow.

– Jack Phillips

Backyard Ecology at Aldo Leopold's shack near Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Backyard Ecology at Aldo Leopold’s shack near Baraboo, Wisconsin.