7th Annual Aldo and Estella Leopold Residency 2018

April 6, 2018

TRES PIEDRAS – For the seventh year, the Leopold Writing Program will open up Aldo and Estella Leopold’s home, Mi Casita, for month-long residencies and a public presentation in Taos by established and emerging writers in the environmental and ecological fields.

Three writers will come to Mi Casita in May, July and October, respectively, this year. Each will make a presentation at the Harwood Art Museum as part of a community outreach agreement between the Leopold Writing Program and the USDA Forest Service, which owns Mi Casita.

The LWP resident for the month of May will be Matthew Barnes, a land manager who believes wildlife and domestic livestock can co-exist. He calls for “cultivating wildness and whole-systems resilience on ranches and public land,” a philosophy he has put to work as a manager of several ranches in the West and plans to enhance with writing during his residency.

In July, Matthew Jones, an adjunct professor in English in Cincinnati. His focus during the month of July at Mi Casita will be a book of essays. The essays center on Jones’ belief that “scientific observation and literary storytelling can be used as a means of constructing a living record of the relationship between humans and natural spaces.”

In October, Laura Pritchett, a playwright and freelance writer who grew up on a farm in Colorado. During her residency in October, she will work on turning her play, Dirt: A Terra Nova Tradition, into a novel and finding a wider audience for both. Her work ranges all across the Western naturalist spectrum, from “climate change to wolves, from fracking to bears.”

The Aldo and Estella Leopold Residency began in 2012 as an inspiring retreat for writers to reflect and create in the home where Aldo and Estella Leopold first lived as newlyweds in 1912.  Residents spend one month at Mi Casita and receive a $500 stipend to help defray travel and living expenses. In exchange, residents give a public presentation of their work in Taos.

The Residency is a New Mexico-based initiative sponsored by the Leopold Writing Program in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service. The Leopold Writing Program builds on Aldo Leopold’s legacy as a writer by inspiring the next generation to participate in the evolution of environmental ethics through the written word.  For more information go to LeopoldWritingProgram.org.

Leopold Writing Program Announces Winners of Leopold Writing Contest

March 22, 2018

Albuquerque, NM – On April 21st, four students from around the state will be honored for their winning entries in the 2018 Leopold Writing Contest at an awards ceremony at the Luna Mansion in Los Lunas. Each winner will be awarded $500 and an additional $250 will be awarded in books to the school library of the overall best essayist. These essays will be read at the event on April 21st and will be posted on the Leopold Writing Program website ( LeopoldWritingProgram.org ).

The Leopold Writing Program congratulates the 2018 Leopold Writing Contest winners:

Akshay Warrier (Overall winner), grade 11, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque

Peter Watson, grade 11, Los Alamos High School, Los Alamos

Elijah Russell, grade 8, Jimmy Carter Middle School, Albuquerque

Seth Almanzar, grade 6, Rio Rancho Middle School, Rio Rancho

This year’s contest asked students to “Tell the story of a local land ethic leader”. Akshay Warrier wrote about his father as his local land ethic leader.  Peter Watson wrote about Craig Martin who organized the Los Alamos community to plant trees in the aftermath of the Cerro Grande and Las Conchas fires and helped found the Los Alamos Youth Conservation Corps.  Elijah Russell wrote about his grandfather, Benjamin Romero Rivera, a Socorro County farmer and leader of the Sevilleta Land Grant Association.  Seth Almanzar wrote about Josh Nelson, a guide at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

It was up to each student to interpret what a local land ethic leader means to them in the context of A Sand County Almanac (1949), a classic in Western literature that articulates Leopold’s Land Ethic: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community.  It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”  Leopold defined the “biotic community” as the soils, waters, plants, and animals—including humans—that collectively make up “the land”.

The Aldo Leopold Writing Contest—now entering its 10th year—is sponsored by the Leopold Writing Program in collaboration with the Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico.  The Leopold Writing Program builds on Leopold’s legacy as a writer by inspiring the next generation of environmental leaders to participate in the evolution of land ethics through the written word.   

Press Release: Inaugural Leopold Lecture to feature noted author Barry Lopez

February 23, 2017

Barry Lopez, an author whose writings are recognized for their humanitarian and environmental concerns, will be the keynote speaker at the inaugural Leopold Lecture on Sunday, April 23.

The lecture program, inspired by the work of environmentalist and conservationist Aldo Leopold, will be held 2 p.m. at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th St. SW, Albuquerque. Admission is free but donations to support the nonprofit Leopold Writing Program are appreciated.

Lopez, who lives on the upper McKenzie River in Oregon, is the author of 14 works of fiction and non-fiction, and has traveled through more than 80 countries in the course of his work. His books include “Of Wolves and Men,” a finalist for the National Book Award, and “Arctic Dreams,” a National Book Award winner.

He is the recipient of numerous literary and cultural honors, including Guggenheim, Lannan, and National Science Foundation fellowships.

“We are especially honored to have Barry Lopez, a National Book Award-winning author give the inaugural Leopold Lecture,” Anthony Anella, founder and president of the Leopold Writing Program, said. “The mission of the Leopold Writing Program is to create an intergenerational network of leaders who, by virtue of their writing talent, have the potential to change the cultural story about the relationship between humans and nature.”

Anella noted that in celebration of the program’s intergenerational mission, Lopez will present awards to the four winners of the Aldo Leopold Writing Contest for students in grades 6-12 prior to his lecture.

Aldo Leopold, who had close ties to New Mexico, was an author, philosopher, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, and environmentalist who lived from 1887 to 1948.

He is the author of “A Sand County Almanac,” in which he asserts his land ethic: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”

The Leopold Writing Program builds on his legacy as a writer by inspiring the next generation of leaders to participate in the evolution of environmental ethics through the written word.

The Leopold Writing Program consists of educational initiatives that support writers in three different stages of their development:

  • Aldo Leopold Writing Contest for New Mexico students in grades 6-12;
  • Aldo & Estella Leopold Residency Program, where mid-career professional writers spend a month at Mi Casita in Tres Piedras, the Leopolds’ first home;
  • Leopold Lecture, for nationally and internationally distinguished writers, seeks to raise the cultural awareness of Leopold’s lifelong philosophical search for how humans could “live on the land without spoiling it.”

The Golden Apple Foundation coordinated the Aldo Leopold Writing Contest, which asked students to answer this question: “How is the way people treat each other related to the way people treat the land?” Award winners will receive cash prizes and books.

The 2017 winners are:

Grades 6-7: Tigerlily Warner, a sixth-grader at Aldo Leopold Charter School in Silver City, teacher Mark Cantrell;

Grades 8-9: Isabella Clark, an eighth-grader at Mandela Independent Magnet School in Santa Fe, teacher Nevada Benton;

Grades 10-12: Abygail MacCurdy, a senior at Albuquerque High School, teacher Lisa Martinez, 12th grade;

Overall Best Essayist: Isabella Clark, an eighth-grader at Mandela Independent Magnet School in Santa Fe, teacher Nevada Benton.

Sponsors of the Leopold Lecture are: The Leopold Writing Program, the Golden Apple Foundation of New Mexico, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the Aldo Leopold Foundation, Bookworks and Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm.

For information about Lopez, visit his website barrylopez.com. For more about the Leopold Writing Program, visit LeopoldWritingProgram.org.

[NOT FOR PUBLICATION: Anthony Anella may be reached at (505) 265-8713 or anthony@anella.com.]