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Sand County Anniversary

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Published on: May. 2, 1999

Last revision: Nov. 2, 2010

connected to what would become one of the most popular conservation books of all times.

After receiving the first batch of illustrations, Leopold wrote to Schwartz, "The more I study them the more I like them. In addition to their overall merit, I like the accuracy of your details even down to the species of grasses suitable for each."

In the years following publication of A Sand County Almanac, Charlie Schwartz and his wife, Libby, would establish their own place in the archives of conservation history, both enjoying long and productive careers as wildlife researchers and film-makers with the Missouri Conservation Department.

The love of natural things that Leopold wrote about and taught in the classroom, Charlie and Libby captured in their nature films and documentaries. Their movies, books, paintings, sketches and research projects won national awards. Like Leopold, their goal was always to be scientifically correct yet communicate on a level that all could understand and appreciate.

The Aldo Leopold Education Project

Cathy Ferguson and Jeanine Pallai's students at Waynesville Middle School likely had never heard of Aldo Leopold and probably would not have chosen A Sand County Almanac to read on their own. But the teachers are among 78 educators who have been trained in the Leopold Education Project (LEP) in Missouri, so the book became required reading.

The Leopold Education Project, a program of Pheasants Forever, offers a curriculum for middle and high school students that is based on Leopold's teachings. In his words, "The objective is to teach the student to see the land, to understand what he sees, and enjoy what he understands."

Ferguson and Pallai are part of a group of about 3,000 educators in 30 states who have taken part in LEP training. These teachers use A Sand County Almanac in their classrooms. Following a teacher's guide, they plan environment-related student activities, such as map making, bird watching and graph designing, to make students more aware of the land and how to make responsible choices regarding the environment.

"It is a great way to introduce students to a great writer and naturalist," says Ferguson. "Through Leopold's writing, our students came in contact with vocabulary and philosophy that's not in today's textbooks. And they have fun!"

"LEP is contagious," says Ferguson. "Teachers catch it, students catch it, and they have it for life." To learn more about the Leopold Education Project, contact the LEP State Coordinator Janice Greene at (417) 836 5306 or e-mail her at <JaniceGreene@mail.smsu.edu>.

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