Learning from the Land: Leopold’s Legacy in Action


In a new summer youth leadership experience at the Arboretum, students will develop skills to restore, preserve, and protect local ecosystems. Through hands-on activities, field trips, and collaboration with other students they will learn not only the “what” but also the “why” and “how” of what we can do to have a mutually beneficial relationship with the earth. Students will explore citizen science projects and land stewardship.

In addition to the free week-long course (July 11–15), students will develop a plan for a ecological restoration project in their home district. They will be paired with a teacher mentor and given access to expert guidance throughout the coming school year to ensure support and success for their project. At the end of the school year students will present these projects during an exposition held at the Arboretum.

This opportunity has been developed by Earth Partnership for Schools staff members working with area teachers attending Earth Partnership professional development programs for teachers. Teachers want students to experience the enthusiasm and rich learning that occurs through the restoration of natural communities through the Earth Partnership curriculum. Student leadership development in natural sciences and community involvement is key to successful implementation of the restoration process in school forests or on school grounds.

Earth Partnership staff members have been developing restoration curriculum and training for teachers since 1992. Teachers in eighteen states and Puerto Rico are enriching school grounds by restoring local ecosystems.

The student course will include:
• Study and experience in McFarland and Verona’s forest and prairie sites
• Sessions by area experts in restoration work, GPS mapping, forest management, and those with careers in natural resources and sciences
• A field trip to the Aldo Leopold Center with a guided tour of the historic Leopold Shack

Students are offered this course for free, with partial grant support from the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board, in addition to gifts made in memory of Ann Farrell. Even with this generous support, Earth Partnerships for Schools is still searching for financial support to make this project happen. A gift of any amount can help sponsor a student through this program. This will include all programming, activities, food, travel, and service-learning funds for the student. We currently have around 30 students who need funding. Your gift will not only make a difference for these students, but for the field of environmental education. If you are interested in sponsoring a student, please contact Jennifer Skolaski at 608-890-2555 or To sign up for the program, please contact the Earth Partnerships for Schools office at 262-9925 or email 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.