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About the
Leopold Center


The Aldo Leopold

P.O.Box 77
Baraboo, WI 53913
608.356.7309 fax
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Welcome to the Leopold Center!

Take a Virtual Tour of the Leopold Center (click here)

Or, visit us in person and take an audio tour!

The Leopold Center has received Platinum LEED ® Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Following a rigorous assessment, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program awarded the Leopold Center 61 points of 69 possible points, more than any other buildingin the United States!

The Leopold Center helps us to envision how we can use energy more efficiently and develop positive relationships to other people and the planet. Through energy efficiency, renewable energy, and an ongoing commitment to land stewardship, the Leopold Center became the first carbon neutral building certified by LEED—meaning annual operations account for no net gain in carbon dioxide emissions.

The Leopold Center is a net zero energy building, meeting all of its energy needs on site. Despite the contrasts of Wisconsin’s four-season climate, the Leopold Center uses 70 percent less energy than a building built just to code, and the center’s roof-mounted solar array is projected to meet 110 percent of the building’s energy needs on an annual basis.

The Land Ethic: A Timeless Challenge

Often, people come to us asking, “How can I reduce my impact on the environment?”

The Leopold Center is, in part, the result of attempting to answer that question. At heart, the Leopold Center attempts to answer the essential question—“How can we ensure both people and the land will prosper in the long run?"

Leopold defined conservation as a way of life in which land does well for its inhabitants, citizens do well by their land, and both end up better by reason of partnership. Aldo Leopold recognized that no matter how sophisticated we become, people will always depend on the land—“the land” being shorthand for the community that not only includes and values people but also plants, animals, soils, and waters, from the highest strata of the atmosphere to the depths of the ocean. We often take natural resources and ecosystems for granted, but, ultimately, the planet’s natural communities and natural functions are what sustain our economy and enrich our lives. “That land is a community,” Leopold wrote, “is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics.”

From the beginning, the Land Ethic guided design of the Leopold Center. The center not only meets the highest standards of the U.S. Green Building Council, but also sustains the health, wildness, and productivity of the land, locally and globally. It is a place to learn about Leopold’s intimate, life-long relationship with the American landscape and see his ideas put into practice.

“Drawing on his life-long study of ecology, land use, history, and ethics, Aldo Leopold concluded that the highest task of civilization was to figure out how ‘to live on a piece of land without spoiling it.’ It’s an ideal articulated by one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th Century, an ideal we must embrace in this one.” - Buddy Huffaker, President and Executive Director

Leopold Center Resources

Learn more about the "green" and innovative features of the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center. Download brochure.

Construction journals- tracking the Leopold Center as it was built

(PDF format - download Adobe Reader)

The Aldo Leopold Foundation carefully documented the progress of the building construction. Please follow the links below for a virtual tour of the building as it was completed, and to learn more about the green building methods used in its construction.

Building a Foundation
Earth Tubes
Putting up Walls
Round Log Roof Trusses
Radiant Floor Temperature Control
Winter 2006 Newsletter Centerfold on Legacy Center
Leopold Center floor plan (PDF)