Quail Forever's Leopold Education Project
Leopold Education Project (LEP)
The Leopold Education Project (LEP) is an environmental education program based on the classic writings of the renowned conservationist, Aldo Leopold. The LEP curriculum aligns with the essays in A Sand County Almanac as a springboard for observing the natural world, to instill a love and respect for the land and all that inhabit the land and to protect the earth's natural resources.
LEP has developed a proven curriculum (Lessons in a Land Ethic) that "fosters a positive relationship between our younger generations and the soil, water, plants and animals" - or what Leopold simply called - the land. His objective was to "teach the students to see the land, understand what he sees and enjoy what he understands".
The seed for LEP was planted in 1971 when Gary Laib, a conservation and biology teacher at Poynette High School in Wisconsin, integrated Leopold's A Sand County Almanac with his science classes. In 1980, he developed 100+ starter lessons to coincide with the essays from the ASCA. Seven years later, Laib was contacted by two conservation-conscious men from Woodstock, IL, who felt Leopold's writings would serve as an excellent tool for developing an improved land ethic.
In 1988, 10,000 copies of A Sand County Almanac were purchased and distributed to various organizations and individuals. The following year, LEP training workshops were conducted in Wisconsin. With support from the Leopold family, the workshop was made available for the 1990 Earth Day celebration.
Education for Environmental Values
Developed mainly for use by teachers, the curriculum materials are equally useful for informal educators, naturalists, resource managers, scout and 4-H program leaders, as well as private citizens. One major premise was that Leopold's writings are both sound science and excellent literature, making them an outstanding tool for meaningful environmental education.
Providing Direct Experiences
Another major principal underlying the LEP is that educators should provide students with direct experiences to the natural and cultural worlds outside the school. One way to accomplish this is to make greater use of the outdoors as a learning laboratory. The LEP recommends place-based situations where students are learning first-hand about the world around them. Modern learning theory supports an experiential approach that allows students to construct meanings from their activities and to develop concepts and skills based on their previous knowledge. In order to promote critical thinking, teachers need to provide students with opportunities to explore the world directly, including urban, rural and suburban environments. LEP encourages flexibility, creativity, and experimentation in using the lessons in a variety of subject matter areas. LEP's adaptable curriculum allows instructors to integrate the materials with their existing curriculums.
Check out the Aldo Leopold chronology (Adobe .pdf 158 KB)