Starting at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 1, 45 readers will step up to a small podium and read a short passage from Leopold. There are no speeches allowed. We don't even introduce ourselves. The only words filling the room for six hours are those of Leopold. It's wonderful.
This year I get to kick off the readings with "January Thaw." (Two years ago I read "Come High Water.") Other readers include his granddaughter Madelyn Leopold, former State Journal environmental reporter Ron Seely, Norman Gilliland and Chuck Quirmbach from Wisconsin Public Radio, and city of Madison conservation resource director Russ Hefty.
The event is free and open to the public. You can just show up at any time of the day and listen, which is exactly what Aldo Leopold did. He would just sit and listen and observe nature on his farm north of Madison. Those observations became what might be regarded as the very basis of the modern environmental movement.
Leopold's life is a testament to the importance of quietly listening and to the value of excellent writing. Had he just been a good scientist, he would not be remembered as well today. We're reading Leopold out loud because he wrote so beautifully.
So join us if you can. And if you can't make it to the Arboretum on Saturday pick up your copy of A Sand County Almanac. Turn to any page. You'll find something there. Just read and listen.