One of the most memorable occasions I have had with my children is an afternoon workshop at the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) in Newcomb.
The day was spent skiing the free AIC trails, sipping hot chocolate while counting birds at the window feeder, and building a Leopold bench.
The workshop was a celebration of Aldo Leopold, a man many consider a father of wildlife ecology. One of his most popular ideas, The Land Ethic, is an essay tying together our responsibility for the natural world. Extending values to go beyond respect for human life, Leopold included the earth, water, flora and fauna into the fold of community protection.
Building the bench was an opportunity to learn more about Leopold and talk with other people about our shared environmental habits. It was also a way for my children to connect with our garden as well as, and years later, reflect back on their contribution to something as simple as a bench.
The Leopold bench is a simple wooden garden seat made from boards and carriage bolts. Using scrap lumber or new wood, the project only takes a few hours. My children still remember cutting and piecing the wood together. One bench lives on our porch while another is nestled under a grove of trees.
On Sunday, April 29, the AIC will hold another Aldo Leopold workshop. Starting at 10 am each participant will have all the necessary tools available to construct their own iconic garden bench. The $35 registration fee covers materials, refreshments, and an afternoon showing of “Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for our Time.”
Don’t fret if you can’t attend, the plans for the Leopold bench can be found here, though I suggest you make the workshop. It really is a fun project, and the trails and grounds of the AIC are always worth the trip.
Photo with the permission of Diane Chase, AdirondackFamilyTime.com