Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Natural, Wild, and Free - Aldo Leopold Week

"Perhaps such a shift of values can be achieved by reappraising things unnatural, tame, and confined in terms of things natural, wild and free." 

Aldo Leopold ended the foreword to A Sand County Almanac with this quote in March of 1948. His collection of essays reveals what "natural, wild, and free" meant to him back then. But what does it mean to us today?

Join the Aldo Leopold Foundation March 1-8 for Leopold Week 2024 to explore this question and discover how you can more deeply connect to the land community. With one click of "Save my spot," you will be registered for all eight of these free, virtual speaker sessions.

Learn more and register for the virtual speaker series at the website www.aldoleopold.org/news-and-events/leopold-week

Replays of each event will be available to registrants after the live program.

In the La Crosse area, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The Refuge’s beginning came nine years before conservationist Aldo Leopold published his first textbook, Game Management, which transformed how conservation leaders thought about wildlife management and land stewardship. Growing alongside these evolving ideas, the Refuge has seen many seasons of change throughout these decades!

Celebrate this milestone anniversary and honor Leopold’s enduring legacy with a series of FREE events in the La Crosse area. Registration is not required.

The Visitor Center doors will open at 11:45 p.m.

12:00 p.m. presentation: “Fins, feathers and firebrands: 100 years of conservation on the Upper Mississippi River Refuge.” Come learn about the passionate and vocal visionaries who influenced the Refuge’s creation, major events which shaped its physical and social landscape, and how you can help shape the next 100 years to come!

1:00 p.m. presentation: “Prairie gardening 101: how to add beauty to your yard or public space” by Dr. Melinda Knutson. Join retired US Fish and Wildlife Service regional wildlife biologist and conservation planner, Dr. Melinda Knutson, to discover why we care about prairies, how you can get involved in local conservation efforts, and tips and tricks for adding native prairie and savanna plants to your garden at home!

2:00 p.m. Guided winter plant walk: Join a Refuge Ranger for a short walk on the prairie to learn about common native prairie plants in their winter condition! We’ll walk about a 1/2 mile along an unplowed paved trail. Please come dressed in warm layers for the weather!

12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Native plant giveaway and native seed planting: One of the best ways we can help wildlife of all kinds is to grow native plants! Stop by anytime between noon and 2:30 p.m. to pick up a wild bergamot or butterfly milkweed starter plant to take home. From 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., we’ll have soil, pots, and seeds available for visitors who’d like to drop in to plant their own seed to take home. These recently planted seeds can be transplanted into a backyard garden or larger plant pot later in the spring.

This programming is the result of a partnership with the Mississippi Valley Conservancy and the Friends of the Refuge – Mississippi River Pools 7 & 8. PLANTS WILL BE AVAILABLE WHILE SUPPLIES LAST, please limit 2 plants per person.

Check out more free activities in the La Crosse area!

The Nature Place in La Crosse will host free family activities between 9:30 -11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 2. Activities will include games, crafts, scavenger hunts, and a visit with some of their live animals.

The D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics at Viterbo University will host a virtual presentation from environmental activist, Doug Tallamy, on Tuesday evening March 5 at 7 p.m. on their Facebook page - https://www.viterbo.edu/db-reinhart-institute-ethics-leadership/lecture-series. Doug Tallamy is a professor, author, and renowned speaker who will address challenges within our ecosystems with solutions such as reducing lawn, planting natives, and removing invasive species.

These La Crosse community events are planned each year by representatives of local environmental and conservation organizations.

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