Prairie Time: The Leopold Reserve Revisited, by John Ross and Beth Ross (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1998)
Fifty years after Aldo Leopold’s death, John and Beth Ross revisited the reserve set aside in his honor. Through words and photographs, the reserve comes to life in sections describing the seasons, the landscape, its inhabitants, and “human relation to the land.” With so much of the earth endangered, it’s hopeful to read in Prairie Time about a place where “once-ruined farmland is now largely restored to a natural state.” Read, visit if you can, and applaud!
Aldo Leopold’s words set the stage for this volume about life as shaped by the prairies, the sandy savannas, and the woodlands in south-central Wisconsin.
The land about which we are writing lies within the transition zone between the native eastern forests, dense and deciduous, and the western grasslands, so fully open to the sky. Here, the natural expression is that of sweeps of prairie with oak openings. Grasses and forbs fill the prairies. Clusters of oak create the ‘openings.’ Before settlement, it was one of the major prairie/savanna regions of the world. Today, with cultivation and urbanization, only classic, natural remnants remain of this vast expanse. But they do remain. – from Prairie Time: The Leopold Reserve Revisited, by John Ross and Beth Ross
“Pearson opened the 1,200-square-foot general bookstore store in downtown Oshkosh, which has been focused on rejuvenating its business district. In fact, Pearson not only won over residents by bringing a much-needed family bookstore to the downtown area, but she was also eligible for grants and better loan rates.” – from American Booksellers Association Website
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Wayside, seven miles north of Pepin, Wisconsin, marks the site where the author was born on February 7, 1867. Informative displays on Laura, her family, and prairie pioneer life are found in a reconstructed, “historically-accurate,” cabin. The wayside is open year ‘round.
Wilder is also remembered at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Pepin. The museum “offers displays, memorabilia, antiques and souvenirs about Laura and the pioneer era.” The museum is open May 15 – October 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Pepin celebrates Laura Ingalls Wilder Days each September. This year’s event will take place on September 8th and 9th.
A Sand County Almanac: with Essays on Conservation from Round River, by Aldo Leopold (New York : Ballantine Books, reissue 1986; a number of other editions are also available)
A Sand County Almanac, part 1 in this volume, is a celebrated classic of nature and ecology writing. It “tells,” as Leopold explains in his foreword, “what my family sees and does at its week-end refuge from too much modernity: ‘the shack.’ On this sand farm in Wisconsin, first worn out and then abandoned by our bigger-and-better society, we try to rebuild with shovel and axe, what we are losing elsewhere.” Leopold’s monthly observations invite readers into the landscape, sharing glimpses of the natural world of one specific place along the Wisconsin River near Baraboo, Wisconsin, while also encouraging the celebration and conservation of all “things wild and free.”
Guided tours of the Shack are offered from Memorial Day through Labor Day on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. Self-guided tours are also available. The Leopold Legacy Center is scheduled to open in April. Visit The Aldo Leopold Foundation website for information on their programs and publications.
“The months of the year, from January up to June, are a geometric progression in the abundance of distractions. In January one may follow a skunk track, or search for bands on the chickadees, or see what young pines the deer have browsed, or what muskrat houses the mink have dug, with only an occasional and mild digression into other doings. January observations can be almost as simple and peaceful as snow, and almost as continuous as cold. There is time not only to see who has done what, but to speculate why.” – from A Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold