Sand County Foundation’s beginnings are rooted in the sandy soil of south-central Wisconsin. In the 1960s, when subdivision of floodplain lands close to Aldo Leopold’s “Shack” and family farm was starting to destroy what Leopold had initiated. Reed Coleman, whose father, Tom, was a close friend of Leopold, along with a few friends and neighbors, took action. They forged a voluntary alliance of neighboring landowners, creating the Leopold Memorial Reserve.
This early land trust, located in Sauk County, Wisconsin, comprised 2,000 acres of private land and became the model for expanding Sand County Foundation’s work far beyond the sandy banks of the Wisconsin River to working lands across the United States.
Sand County Foundation coordinated reserve-wide management and ecological research on the Leopold Memorial Reserve. For more than 40 years, the reserve’s private landowners were dedicated to conservation improvement and inspired others to see their own land in new ways.