History & Mission

Change is in the air!

Through Strategic Planning and in the spirit of Aldo Leopold, we’ve affirmed our mission to engage and educate current and future generations, empowering them to respect, protect, and enjoy the natural world. In addition to our core programming, we are gearing up for some exciting new initiatives, and you may start to see some changes in and around the Nature Center.

In order to better serve our community, we are redesigning our space to increase our impact, improve our programs and better accommodate diverse populations. As you visit ALNC in the coming months, you will start to see signs of these changes – the first steps of an ongoing process to expand access – and we are taking great care to work around our existing programs and events.

Access to our interactive theaters, exhibit area and Leopold Family Phenology Center is currently closed and we look forward to a new schedule for these areas next Spring.

Interested in learning more about our exciting new initiatives? Explore our Bridge to the Future: Strategic Planning Initiatives brochure.

Visit us soon, stay tuned for more updates, and thank you for your patience and continued support as we roll out these exciting changes!

Established in 1994, the Aldo Leopold Nature Center (ALNC) is an independent, non-profit organization. Through hands-on interactive programs, ALNC is leading the way to engage, educate and empower the next generation of stewards of the land for a healthy, happy, and sustainable future.

ALNC offers many opportunities to connect with nature both indoors and out. In addition to our special events and education programs, our indoor children’s exhibits provide a special place for your child to learn about Monarch Butterflies and Prairies, Native Fish and Wetlands and Woodlands. Head outside and explore our wetland, woodland and prairie trails, open sun-up to sun-down, 7 days a week! Sign your child up for our Wonder Bugs Preschool program, Vacation Day programs and Home School programs for ages 5-12, or Summer Camps for ages 2-16.

See you on the trails!

We believe…

When we are thoughtful about being inclusive in how we engage and educate, we help students to know that nature is for everyone and is a safe place to learn and explore.

When we engage students in positive, hands-on experiences in nature, their curiosity is sparked and a lifelong connection to nature is made.

When we educate students, nurturing a better understanding of the world around them, we foster an environmentally literate generation empowered to take positive ecological, social and fiscal actions.

When we – as Aldo Leopold wrote – “teach the student to see the land, to understand what he sees, and enjoy what he understands,” empowered students take individual actions and create meaningful change – change that is critical to the sustainability and health of the natural world.

When we strategically and thoughtfully work with community partners, we help them fulfill their goals while increasing our capacity to engage and educate students, creating healthy and sustainable communities everywhere.

When we care for the land and are mindful of Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, we are equipped to engage and educate students about the world around them – empowering them to preserve the land, providing a sanctuary for human, plant and animal communities.

ALNC is leading the way to ensure visitors of all ages and backgrounds have opportunities to connect with nature by offering positive and constructive learning opportunities that capture their interest, engage their senses and teach them to appreciate the interconnectedness of all living things. For more information on how we are expanding access, please see our Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEAs) Policy Initiative.

Located in Monona, ALNC works to engage, educate, and empower students through programming and services designed primarily for school age children, ages 2-14. We reach these students, and others, through their teachers and families, our community partners, donors, and volunteers, through School Field Trips, Summer Camps, Wonder Bugs Preschool Programs, Homeschool Programs, After School Programs, Vacation Day Programs, Scout Programs, Public Programs and Adult & Teacher Programs.

Through these programs, ALNC fosters admiration and respect for nature, and encourages sustainability and stewardship of the land.

Aldo Leopold Nature Center