Lodi Reads Leopold

A child explores nature using a hiking stick from the 2016 Lodi Reads Leopold celebration. 

Lodi has many claims to fame, including the fact that it is the birthplace of the annual Aldo Leopold celebrations. Officially observed the first weekend in March in Wisconsin, the Leopold celebrations have extended beyond the Midwest. This year there will be events planned in over 30 communities across 11 states…and it all started in Lodi.

Leopold Weekend began in the state on March 4, 2000, when the citizens of Lodi gathered to read A Sand County Almanac --- one of the books for which Aldo Leopold is most well-known --- aloud, cover to cover. Dubbed “Lodi Reads Leopold,” the event was so inspiring and successful that its organizer, the Friends of Scenic Lodi Valley, decided it should be an annual experience.

This year’s 2017 Lodi Reads Leopold celebration takes place on Saturday, March 4. All events are free and open to the public. It begins at 9 a.m. at the Robertson Trailhead on Riddle Road to take a two-mile hike on the Lodi Marsh segment of the Ice Age Trail, listening for the majestic bugling of cranes. From 11-11:45 a.m. is an indoor picnic at the Lodi Pubic Library with hot dogs, chips and lemonade. (No ants!) At noon the Lodi Public Library will host a free family concert by Ken Lonnquist, Wisconsin’s “Minstrel for the Environment.”

During the third annual Lodi Reads Leopold event George Meyer, former secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and an invited reader, wondered aloud why every community in the state wasn’t reading Leopold that weekend. State legislator Mark Miller shouted from the audience, “I’ll introduce that legislation.” The spark caught on. One year later, in March 2004, Governor James Doyle signed bipartisan legislation designating the first weekend in March “Aldo Leopold Weekend” across Wisconsin.

Considered by many to be the father of wildlife ecology and the United States’ wilderness system, Aldo Leopold was a conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast. In 1935, he and his family initiated their own ecological restoration experiment on a worn-out farm along the Wisconsin River outside of Baraboo, Wis. During weekends at what came to be known as “the Shack,” the Leopold family planted thousands of pine trees and restored prairies. Documenting the ensuing changes in the flora and fauna further informed and inspired Leopold’s work.

Among his best known ideas is the “land ethic,” which calls for an ethical, caring relationship between people and nature. A little more than a year after his death, Leopold’s collection of essays, A Sand County Almanac, was published. With more than two million copies sold, it has become one of the most respected books about the environment ever published and Leopold has come to be regarded by many as the most influential conservation thinker of the 20th century.

For more information please contact Patti Herman, billpatti@charter.net or 608-843-3924. The Friends of Scenic Lodi Valley organizes the event and the Lodi Public Library serves as the host.

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