Although The Aldo Leopold Foundation is currently closed to visitors through March, start planning now to make your pilgrimage to the Shack, we’re working hard to get it ready for you and others. Can’t wait to see you!

2017: Bridging the Urban-Rural Divide

Our 2017 Building a Land Ethic Conference was hosted primarily at the University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County and spanned three days, beginning at 1:00 pm on Thursday, June 22, and ending at 4:00 pm on Saturday, June 24. We also offered pre-conference workshops on Wednesday, June 21.

The overall theme for the 2017 conference was “Bridging the Urban-Rural Divide.”


  • Will Allen shared how urban farming is renewing neighborhoods in addition to providing access to healthy food.
  • Peter Forbes illuminated how the work of bridging divides has to grow from mutual respect, listening and dialog across difference.

Additional Programs

  • Stan Temple facilitated a panel discussion with Nancy DeLong, Steve Laubach, and Eduardo Santana Castellon examining how water both connects and divides urban and rural communities.
  • Curt Meine facilitated a panel discussion with Michael Howard, Jay Salinas, and Carla Wright on how food can be the common connection that helps us strengthen our relationships with the land.
  • Buddy Huffaker facilitated a panel discussion with Leopold family members Caryl Smith, Trish Stevenson, and Jed Meunier to highlight the legacy of Aldo Leopold’s eldest daughter Nina Leopold Bradley.
  • Les Stroud, known as the host of the popular television show Survivorman, shared his musical talents by performing a live show at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells.
  • Concurrent session presentations explored Leopold’s ideas in youth education, conservation projects and partnerships, art, science, and community engagement.
  • Pre-conference activities included a workshop for educators on the Leopold Education Project curriculum, and tours of the Leopold Shack and Farm and Leopold-Pine Island Important Bird Area.

Download the 2017 conference program (PDF) for complete conference details.

Conference at a Glance

Conference infographic