Literature Study GuidesA Sand County Almanac

A Sand County Almanac | Study Guide

Aldo Leopold

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Aldo Leopold

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At a Glance

Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac is a collection of verbal sketches. These sketches record Leopold's observations and related reflections of natural areas. The sketches in the first two parts focus on the wonders of nature; the ways plants, animals, and humans interact; and the effects of human activities on wilderness areas. Leopold was a forester, landowner, nature lover, and conservationist. His writing is an expression of a lifetime of wilderness appreciation and seeing its harm by the well-intentioned but ill-considered progress of human civilization.

Several essays in a third section titled "The Upshot" develop Leopold's concept of conservation in more practical and less poetic language than the first two parts of the book and present an argument about how humans ought to view and interact with nature. His concept of conservation as an ethical matter, not simply a practical one, changed the way many conservationists saw their responsibilities to the natural world.

About the Title

A Sand County Almanac refers to Part 1 of the book, which contains observations made at the author's farm in Sauk County, Wisconsin. The term Sand County does not refer to an actual county in Wisconsin but rather to a number of counties located where the soil is extremely sandy and therefore quite poor for growing crops. Leopold's farm is located on the Central Sand Plain of Wisconsin, an area that was once a large glacial lake bed where a great deal of sand was deposited. The second part of the title, Sketches Here and There, contains additional verbal sketches of places Leopold visited both inside and outside of Wisconsin.


This study guide and infographic for Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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