Last week I got to visit the Aldo Leopold Foundation, outside Baraboo, Wisconsin. This is the farm where Aldo Leopold and his family lived and worked in the 1930s and 40s – the land that inspired A Sand County Almanac.
If you have no idea who or what I’m talking about, that’s okay. Leopold doesn’t seem to be particularly well-known among the general public, but ask anyone who works in a conservation-related field (at least in America) and they’ll probably know who he is. A Sand County Almanac was his book of beautifully-written essays outlining his ideas about what it means to live ethically with the land. When it was published in the 1940s, shortly after his death, it didn’t find much of an audience, but when the environmental movement really got going in the 60s people rediscovered it. It’s a great, classic piece of environmental writing.
Having read A Sand County Almanac not once but twice back in college, it was amazing to see Leopold’s sandy farm in person. I need to read it again now! I would highly recommend checking out the book. The opening piece, about going for a walk in the woods in January, is one of my favorite-ever pieces of nature writing, but if you’re only going to read one of the essays, go straight to “The Land Ethic.”