Working with Aldo Leopold

I attended a program at the Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo. We discussed conservation and how to communicate it with a more general public. The sessions are based on Leopold’s thinking and also his methods. He believed in learning actively. Observe – participate – reflect – observe … repeat.

I like it. It fits in well with my mindful boots-on-the-ground philosophy. You have to go to the places, experience them. You gain knowledge through practical experience, and it is always contingent on what happened before. That is why you need to absorb the context. However, while experience is mandatory, learning is optional, which is where the reflection and thinking comes in.

Anyway, the picture is our group photo. It was taken just before our work pulling invasive plants out of the prairie to get some of that hands-on experience. That is why some of us have gloves. Right after we finished the field work, we discussed Leopold’s essay “Axe in Hand” where he talks about making choices in conservation and understanding how we are affecting the land. The work helped with understanding and internalizing the essay.


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