Skip to main content

‘Madison Reads Leopold’ to be held March 2 at Arboretum

February 21, 2013

As part of the Madison area’s celebration of Aldo Leopold Weekend, there will be a free public reading from “A Sand County Almanac” and other Leopold works on Saturday, March 2, at the UW Arboretum Visitor Center. Leopold was the first research director at the Arboretum and was closely involved in its design.

Photo: Aldo Leopold


Throughout the day, citizen and celebrity readers will give voice to selected essays detailing Leopold’s phenological observations as well as his conservation philosophy. Published more than 60 years ago, the Almanac has prompted generations of people to take better notice — and care — of the natural environment.

“Madison Reads Leopold” will start at 9:30 a.m. Former Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz will kick it off by reading “January Thaw.” The concluding essay, “The Outlook,” is scheduled to be heard at 3:29 p.m.

Now in its eighth year, the event will include the well-known “calendar” essays, as well as other pieces chosen for their relevance to the Arboretum, the university, and the state of Wisconsin. At 1 p.m., Wisconsin singer-songwriter Tim Southwick Johnson will present selections from his CD “Sand County Songs” — entirely inspired by Leopold’s writings. At 1:30 p.m., the Arboretum’s acting director, Donna Paulnock, will read the address given by Leopold at the Arboretum’s dedication on June 17, 1934.

Other highlights will include readings by: Madelyn Leopold, daughter of Luna Leopold and granddaughter of Aldo; Ron Seely of the Wisconsin State Journal; Marie McCabe, widow of Leopold’s colleague Bob McCabe; Chuck Quirmbach, environment reporter for Wisconsin Public Radio; and students, educators, naturalists and representatives of community organizations.

“Madison Reads Leopold” is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be available in the visitor center lobby. Brown-bagging is permitted. Leopold archive materials and artifacts from the UW’s extensive collection will be on display in the reading room. Conservation-related organizations are invited to bring literature for display on tables in the lobby.

A detailed schedule of readers and essays will be posted online before the event. All reading times are approximate. Listeners wishing to hear a particular reader should plan to be at the Arboretum at least 10 minutes in advance of their scheduled time. Kathy Miner, the local coordinator, can address questions about a particular reader or selection at 608-233-2425 or by email.

The visitor center can be reached by entering the Arboretum at 1207 Seminole Highway (just north of the Beltline), and proceeding east approximately one mile to the main parking lot. Parking is free.

Additional events honoring Leopold’s life and legacy will be held throughout the weekend in the Madison area, around Wisconsin, and elsewhere in the United States. Details are available here. The Arboretum will offer a free “Walk with Leopold” tour at 1:00 p.m. Sunday, March 3. More information about the walk is available by calling 608-263-7888 during business hours.