KENNETT SQUARE, PA – Longwood Gardens has launched its first Community Read featuring the conservation classic A Sand County Almanac by well-known conservationist Aldo Leopold (1877-1948). A Community Read is designed to encourage a region to join together in reading the same book to spur discussion around an important idea or topic. Area libraries and community organizations are joining in the effort and hosting programs and events throughout the spring. “We chose A Sand County Almanac because Aldo Leopold’s ethics surrounding nature, humanity and the connections between them have influenced how we manage our 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands and meadow at Longwood,” said Paul B. Redman, director of Longwood Gardens.
Community Read partners include: Brandywine Conservancy, Chester County Library System, Delaware Nature Society, Mt. Cuba Center, New Castle County Library System, The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County, Okehocking Nature Center, and the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Each organization is offering book chats, lectures, and other programming now through May exploring the book’s ideas about environmental conservation, land stewardship, and community engagement. In all, more than 50 programs and events are planned. A complete list of community programs can be found at http://longwoodgardens.org/community-read. Some of the programs include:
- How the Red Clay Greenway is an Integral Part of the Land Ethic, March 6, 6:30–8:00 pm. Presented by: The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County. Free. Location: Bayard Taylor Memorial Library (216 E. State Street, Kennett Square, PA). RSVP required.
- Early Spring Frogs & Woodcocks, March 14, 5:30–9:00 pm. Presented by: Delaware Nature Society. Delaware Nature Society Member: $20; Non-Member: $30. As Aldo Leopold wrote in A Sand County Almanac, "…The Sky Dance…I owned my farm for two years before learning that the sky dance is to be seen over my woods every evening in April and May. Since we discovered it, my family and I have been reluctant to miss even a single performance. Dusk invites these harbingers of springs out of their secret daytime retreats." Join expert naturalist Jim White as he takes you to known Woodcock display grounds at Ashland Nature Center to seek and observe these unique creatures. Seek out calling amphibians that are emerging after winter. Call 302.239.2334 to register.
- Green Fire Film Screening, March 19, 7:00 pm. Presented by: Brandywine Conservancy. Conservancy Members: Free; Non-Members: Included with regular museum admission. An Emmy Award winning documentary film, Green Fire tells the story of legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold’s extraordinary career, tracing how he shaped the modern environmental movement.
- Bucktoe Restoration Hike, March 22, 9:00 am–12:00 pm. Presented by: The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County. Free. Join the Bucktoe Creek Preserve crew to see the Land Ethic in action and learn how you can be a part of it at the Bucktoe Creek Preserve (432 Sharp Road, Avondale, PA).
- See the Geese Return: A Morning in the Bird Blind, April 5, 7:00–9:00am. Presented by: Mt. Cuba Center. Location: Mt. Cuba Center Stables. Price: $20. Buy tickets. Experience spring bird migration like Aldo Leopold did. Join Nate Shampine, Mt. Cuba Center’s Natural Lands Manager, as he leads this discovery of migratory birds.
- How to Improve Your Backyard Habitat, April 5, 10:00 am–12:00 pm. Presented by: Okehocking Nature Center. Free. Hear a National Wildlife Federation host describe the basics of creating a healthier home habitat for birds and insects, especially butterflies. For information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Land Conservation Discussion, April 15, 12:00–1:00 pm. Presented by: Wilmington Library. Tara Tracy from the Delaware Urban Farm and Food Coalition and Tom Brightman, Longwood Gardens Land Steward Specialist, will lead a discussion on land conservation and A Sand County Almanac.
Longwood Gardens Community Read Programs
Longwood is offering Book Chats on March 24, 9-10:30 am and on April 8, 4-5:30 pm featuring Longwood land stewards Tom Brightman and Bill Haldeman. Registration is required by calling 610-388-5454. The $21 registration fee includes copies of A Sand County Almanac and Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work. On April 12, from 7-9 pm Longwood welcomes Curt Meine, author of Aldo Leopold: His Life and Work. Meine has spent his career studying Leopold’s approach to conservation. After a brief presentation, Meine will lead a panel discussion about current and future conservation efforts in our region featuring thought leaders from Natural Lands Trust, Brandywine Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, Delaware Nature Society, The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County, Longwood Gardens, and Mt. Cuba Center. A dessert reception follows the discussion. The lecture is free with Gardens admission and registration is required by calling 610-388-5454.
Get Your Copy
A Sand County Almanac is available for purchase at the Longwood Gardens GardenShop and at major book retailers. It is available as an eBook, Kindle, Nook, and iBook and is also available to borrow at many public libraries in New Castle County, DE, and Chester County, PA.
About Longwood Gardens
Longwood Gardens is on US Route 1 near Kennett Square, PA, 30 miles west of Philadelphia. The Gardens Shop is open daily. The Terrace Restaurant Café is open daily. Admission is $18 for adults; $15 for seniors (age 62+); $8 for students (ages 5–18 or with valid student ID) and free ages 4 and under. Group rates available. Details at www.longwoodgardens.org.
About Aldo Leopold
Considered by many as the father of wildlife management and of the United States’ wilderness system, Aldo Leopold was a conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast. Born in 1887 Leopold graduated from the Yale Forest School in 1909, and pursued a career with the newly established U.S. Forest Service in Arizona and New Mexico. By the age of 24, he had been promoted to the post of Supervisor for the Carson National Forest in New Mexico. In 1922, he was instrumental in developing the proposal to manage the Gila National Forest as a wilderness area, which became the first such official designation in 1924.
Following a transfer to Madison, Wisconsin in 1924, Leopold continued his investigations into ecology and the philosophy of conservation and in 1933 published the first textbook in the field of wildlife management. In 1935, he and his family initiated their own ecological restoration experiment on a worn-out farm along the Wisconsin River outside of Baraboo, Wisconsin. Planting thousands of pine trees, restoring prairies, and documenting the ensuing changes in the flora and fauna further informed and inspired Leopold.
A prolific writer, Leopold conceived of a book geared for general audiences examining humanity’s relationship to the natural world. Unfortunately, just one week after receiving word that his manuscript would be published, Leopold experienced a heart attack and died on April 21, 1948. A little more than a year after his death Leopold’s collection of essays A Sand County Almanac was published. With over two million copies in 10 languages sold, it is 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 twentieth century.
About The Aldo Leopold Foundation
The Aldo Leopold Foundation is a not-for-profit organization based in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The foundation’s mission is to inspire an ethical relationship between people and land through the legacy of Aldo Leopold. For more information, visit www.aldoleopold.org