Photo Credit: Nick Bristol


Sand County Foundation's mission is to inspire and empower land owners and managers to ethically care for the land to sustain water resources, build healthy soil, enhance wildlife habitat, and support outdoor recreation. 

Our vision is a future where there is widespread adoption of a land ethic based on personal responsibility, effective incentives, and science for the benefit of people and the environment.

Our work:

  • Supports private individuals and communities as primary agents of conservation and land management
  • Rewards responsible stewards and provides public recognition for outstanding private land leadership
  • Facilitates the exchange of information between private individuals, scientists, funders and policy makers
  • Removes barriers and creates meaningful incentives for landowners who enhance the environment
  • Creates on-the-land examples of environmental improvement suitable for replication

Sand County Foundation


Sand County Foundation looks at environmental challenges differently. Our entrepreneurial approach and ability to partner with organizations and communities across the spectrum has been our hallmark for more than 50 years. Our sole focus is supporting voluntary conservation on working lands through ethics, science and incentives. Values of liberty, voluntary action, property rights and civic duty are at our core.

We believe private landowners have the ability to apply conservation on their land in a way that benefits their business and the environment, and that collaboration, not litigation, leads to the most enduring environmental improvements.


In 1967, Sand County Foundation created a successful partnership among a group of private landowners to protect the land surrounding the famous “Shack” property of Aldo Leopold, America’s foremost conservation thinker. This pioneering cooperative venture led landowners to commit to voluntary conservation while raising awareness of Leopold’s land ethic, which inspires thousands of other owners of working land.

When Leopold wrote his visionary A Sand County Almanac, published in 1949, he introduced conservation ideas that penetrated the public’s conscience just as much then as they do today. Leopold advanced individual responsibility for private land management, and recognized that a landowner’s profitability and economic growth are tied to conservation success. Since its publication, A Sand County Almanac has been described as the most influential conservation book. It remains a best selling environmental book, demonstrating how relevant these ideas are today.

We’ve come a long way since mobilizing our first landowner partners to conserve Leopold’s sandy farmland in Wisconsin. Today, our impact spans the U.S., and is a direct reflection of what our donors and partners can achieve when landowners are encouraged to lead the way to improving our nation’s natural resources.


Sand County Foundation grants and contracts may not be used for indirect costs, overhead, or other expenses not directly related to the project. Funds may not be used for legal actions, land acquisitions, endowments, lobbying, electioneering, or construction of buildings.

Sand County Foundation will not consider unsolicited proposals.