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Kohl’s Wild Theater & Aldo Leopold Foundation Honor Wisconsin’s Conservation History

This Earth Day, Wisconsinites will celebrate famous conservationists from the Badger State, including noted authors and naturalists John Muir and Aldo Leopold. That’s why the Zoological Society of Milwaukee is thrilled to announce a collaboration with the Aldo Leopold Foundation and Estella Leopold, the last surviving child of Aldo Leopold, on a new Kohl’s Wild Theater Play. The new musical, “Aldo Leopold and the Ghost of Sand County,” will teach children in kindergarten through fifth grade about Wisconsin’s rich conservation history and the importance of preserving nature for future generations.

 “When we decided to create a play about Wisconsin conservationists, we wanted to go right to the source,” says Dave McLellan, Kohl’s Wild Theater coordinator. “That’s why we’re so excited to be working with the Leopold Foundation and Estella Leopold on this project.” Kohl’s Wild Theater actors, playwrights and composers are creating the script in collaboration with Estella and the foundation. “The entire Leopold family became extraordinary conservationists,’” McLellan says. “Their contributions are an excellent example of Wisconsin’s legacy of conservation leaders.”

Jennifer Kobylecky, director of education for the Aldo Leopold Foundation, says, “It is so important for kids, especially in urban areas, to be encouraged to connect with and explore the outdoors. This play is funny, engaging, and shows children how they can help take care of the Earth, which of course takes care of us.” Kobylecky also emphasizes that the partnership between the Aldo Leopold Foundation and Kohl’s Wild Theater is a great match-up of each organization’s strengths. “This will be a fun, exciting and productive partnership to celebrate Wisconsin’s conservation heritage and ensure these kids are invited to be part of its future.” Estella Leopold even shared an advanced copy of her forthcoming book of autobiographical essays, Tales from the Shack, to help the playwrights add authentic details.

 Considered by many as the father of wildlife management and of the United States’ wilderness system, Aldo Leopold was a conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast. In 1935, he and his family initiated their own ecological restoration experiment on a worn-out farm along the Wisconsin River outside of Baraboo, Wisconsin. His most famous work, A Sand County Almanac, was published a year after he died in 1948 and has been translated into 13 languages.

 Dave McLellan and Jennifer Kobylecky are available to talk about their collaboration, Wisconsin’s strong history of conservation and the importance of teaching children about the natural world. The play will be performed free of charge at elementary schools around southeastern Wisconsin starting in January 2017. Kohl’s Wild Theater started booking performances of the show in April and expects slots to fill up quickly. Interested schools can call 414-258-2333 for more information or to book a show.

About Kohl’s Wild Theater

Kohl’s Wild Theater is made possible by a partnership among Kohl's Cares, the Milwaukee County Zoo and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. The program provides conservation-themed theater performances using drama, songs and puppetry to children and their families at the Milwaukee County Zoo and at schools, community events and festivals, free of charge, within a one-hour radius of the Zoo. Visit www.wildtheater.org to learn more.

 About the Zoological Society of Milwaukee

The Zoological Society of Milwaukee is a private nonprofit organization whose mission is to conserve wildlife and endangered species, educate people about the importance of wildlife and the environment, and support the Milwaukee County Zoo. For more information, visit www.zoosociety.org.

For more information, call: Stacy Vogel Davis at 414-258-2333, ext. 210 - April 14, 2016