2024 Leopold Celebration at the Refuge

Mar 2, 2024

11:45 am - 4:00 pm

Event Website


Speakers, winter plant walk, and native plant

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge
(Refuge)! Created in 1924, the Refuge’s beginning came nine years before conservationist Aldo Leopold
published his textbook, Game Management, which transformed how conservation leaders thought about
wildlife management and land stewardship. Growing alongside these evolving ideas, the Refuge has seen
many seasons of change throughout these decades!
Please join us to celebrate our centennial and honor Leopold’s enduring legacy! Leopold’s work will be
celebrated in a series of FREE events in the La Crosse area as part of an annual state-wide celebration.
Here’s what’s happening at the Refuge’s La Crosse District Visitor Center on Saturday, March 2!
The Visitor Center doors will open at 11:45 a.m.
12:00 p.m. Presentation: “Fins, feathers and firebrands: 100 years of conservation on the Upper
Mississippi River Refuge.” Come learn about the passionate and vocal visionaries who influenced the
Refuge’s creation, major events which shaped its physical and social landscape, and how you can help shape
the next 100 years to come!
1:00 p.m. Presentation: “Prairie gardening 101: how to add beauty to your yard or public space” by
Dr. Melinda Knutson. Join retired US Fish and Wildlife Service regional wildlife biologist and
conservation planner, Dr. Melinda Knutson, to discover why we care about prairies, how to get involved in
local conservation efforts, and tips and tricks for adding native prairie plants to your garden at home!
2:00 p.m. Guided winter plant walk: Join a Refuge Ranger for a short walk on the prairie to learn about
common native prairie plants in their winter condition! We’ll walk about 1⁄2 mile along an unplowed paved
trail. Please come dressed in warm layers!

12:00 – 4:00 p.m. Native plant giveaway and native seed planting: One of the best ways we can help
wildlife of all kinds is to grow native plants! Stop by anytime between noon – 2:30 p.m. to pik cup a wild
bergamot or butterfly milkweed starter plant to take home. From 2:30 – 4:00 p.m., we’ll have soil, pots and
seeds available for visitors who’d like to plant their own seed to take home. These recently planted seeds can
be transplanted into a backyard garden or larger plant pot later in the spring. Both plant options will be
available while supplies last; please limit two plants per person.
Thank you to our partners at Mississippi Valley Conservancy and the Friends of the Refuge- Mississippi
River Pools 7 & 8 for providing the seeds and planters!