Learning from the Land: High School Student Leadership Institute held July 11-15, 2011


In July 2011, funded by the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board (WEEB), 40 high school students from school districts with school forests including Madison, Monona, Middleton, McFarland, Cambridge and Verona participated in a week-long Earth Partnership Youth Leadership Institute. This new initiative also received funding from the Ann Farrell Memorial Fund.

Students with an interest in environmental studies learned about the history and ethics of land restoration through the writings of Aldo Leopold. Through hands-on learning experiences, field trips, readings, and guest speakers, they learned scientific inquiry methods, ecological restoration, communication and leadership skills.

Teachers from each school district (~12 teachers) served as instructors and mentors to guide students in independent projects throughout the school year in their home districts. Learning from the Land fostered student and mentor relationships, post-secondary and life-long learning and citizen science skills. Participants documented their projects, shared data and information through Google Earth and other web-sites and will present a Spring 2012 Share Fair at the Arboretum, accessible statewide through video-conferencing. Learning from the Land, the EPS Summer Youth Leadership model will be shared through the EPS/RESTORE network of partnering organizations, natural resource agencies, UW units and school districts across Wisconsin.

Learning from the Land: Leopold’s Legacy in Action. Join us for an exciting, first-ever summer enrichment opportunity for high school students at the UW Arboretum Again in 2012! (dates TBA).

Based on the successful workshops offered to teachers through the Earth Partnership for Schools program, students have the opportunity to learn about environmental science, restoration ecology, and the Leopold’s land ethic in the world-renowned UW Arboretum.

Through hands-on activities, field trips, and collaboration with like-minded area students they learn not only the “what” but also the “why” and “how” of what we can do to restore, preserve, and protect the environment.

Activities include:
• A field trip to the Aldo Leopold Center with a guided tour of the historic Leopold Shack
• Hands-on activities in McFarland and Verona’s forest and prairie sites
GPS mapping, forest management, and careers in natural resources and sciences

In addition to the week-long course, students develop a plan for a project in their home district. They are paired with a teacher mentor and given access to expert guidance throughout the coming school year to ensure support and success for their project. We are hoping this will lead to an unprecedented opportunity for students to connect with others of all ages that have similar interests in environmental issues.

High school credit may be offered through participating districts; a total of 30 hours of class time will be required.

Classes run from 9 to 3p.m. Monday through Friday at the UW Arboretum.
—For more information, please contact the Earth Partnerships for Schools office at 262-9925 or email Cheryl Bauer-Armstrong,, or Janet Moore

Located between Lake Wingra and the West Beltline Highway at 1207 Seminole Highway, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum features the restored prairies, forests and wetlands of pre-settlement Wisconsin. This 1,260-acre arboretum also houses flowering trees, shrubs and a world-famous lilac collection. Educational tours for groups and the general public, science and nature-based classes for all ages and abilities, and a wide variety of volunteer opportunities for groups, families and individuals are available.