The Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Monona, Wisconsin, is a Madison-area gem that serves as a constant reminder of the value of protecting our natural world.

Much of this area is known for its prairie lands spreading out among Madison’s four lake system. The Center does a fantastic job of not only highlighting the beauty of the nature around us, but also showing how intertwined it is with our day-to-day lives.
Now, more than ever, this organization is doing important work for the future of our communities and our planet. Through a variety of services and programs, they have helped to educate generations of students on the value of nature and their role in protecting the environment.
This mission is an inspiration to Starion Bank’s own efforts in conservation, and that’s why we wanted to help you to get to know more about the Aldo Leopold Nature Center’s history and programs.

A History Worthy of Its Namesake

The Aldo Leopold Nature Center is named, unsurprisingly, after Aldo Leopold. Although he passed away in 1948, he is known as the father of wildlife ecology and is widely recognized as the greatest conservationist of the 20th century.
Leopold is remembered for his major contributions to wildlife conservation studies that moved both science and public interest forward, and for developing his idea of the “land ethic.” This idea asserts the need for an ethical, caring relationship between humans and the land that they live on.
In the early 1990s, when the land that it sits on was sold for commercial development, a group of citizens who wanted to protect it banded together and organized a campaign to do so. It was a major success that culminated with the City of Monona purchasing the land on the stipulation that a nature center would be built there. In 1994, the Aldo Leopold Nature Center was founded.
What started out of a converted greenhouse in 1994 has now turned into a nature center that truly envelops the ideas espoused by Leopold and serves as a source of environmental inspiration for Wisconsin’s children (and adults alike).
Today, the Center serves 80,000 school children, families, and members of the community through a wide range of programs that helps connect Wisconsin schools with the best regional environmental education resources, and so much more.

Programming for All Ages

Did you know that the Aldo Leopold Nature Center runs its own preschool? The preschool, serving students aged 3 to 5, features educational opportunities both indoors and outdoors as well as offering rich learning materials for its students.
Programs exist for children of all ages, from the Wonder Bugs Program for preschool-aged children to summer camps, like the Adventurer II summer camp for kids aged 14 to 16.
In addition to its own educational programs, the organization also provides plenty of resources for Wisconsin’s educators. These include field trips to the center, virtual field trips, and a wide variety of off-site programs.
Parents can also find plenty of options to help their children learn about the wonders of the natural world around them.
Additionally, while most of their programs are geared towards building the next generation of conservationists, the Aldo Leopold Nature Center also offers opportunities for nature-lovers of any age.
These include educational programs for adults and teachers who want to learn more about the environment as well as seasonal programs like maple syruping and snowshoeing. Community members who want to join in the Center’s mission to conserve the land can also volunteer to be land stewards.
As you can see, the Aldo Leopold Nature Center is a vital part of the Madison-area community for so many reasons. It reminds us that, as Aldo Leopold once said, “​​When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
The Aldo Leopold Nature Center helps future generations of Wisconsinites to do just that. Which is why it’s such a great local resource, and an inspiration for Starion Bank to continue our own conservation efforts. 
We take our environmental initiatives seriously and are always looking at ways we can be a responsible citizen in the communities we serve.
We use solar arrays to supply up to 50% of our annual energy needs, and smart lighting to help reduce our overall energy usage across the company.
Instead of landscaping at our local branches, we plant native grasses and flowers to help preserve important prairie species, as well as insects and animals that depend on them.  
Starion is proud to partner with the Aldo Leopold Nature Center to encourage social responsibility, community building, and a love of conservation.