Building Leopold Benches for Buffalo Peaks Ranch

aldo sitting

Many years ago, Aldo Leopold, one of conservation’s central figures, came up with a very simple design for a bench to be used at his family’s Sand County farm. The design is perfect for the benches Buffalo Peaks Ranch needs. With a few Leopold Benches, we’ll be able to spread them across the ranch’s landscape, giving people the opportunity to find a quiet spot to read, sketch, or simply experience the quiet of this high mountain ranch.
larger planbench sketch

Plus, we love that the benches have such a direct connection to Aldo Leopold, an author whose work is so central to the Rocky Mountain Land Library mission to help connect people to nature & the land!

So this past Saturday a hardy band of volunteers gathered in the corrals to build the Leopold Benches the ranch will need.

x-toolArray

Tools were assembled, and plans made. Team Leaders Ted Schultz and Todd Matuszewicz scoured used & recycled timber sources, and gathered as many hand tools as possible. Ted and Todd came up with an ingenious plan that not only dealt with the ranch’s current lack of electricity, but actually helped us all appreciate the old hand-tool ways of building.

Meanwhile, in another generous stroke of fortune, Kim Mailes, one of our HistoriCorps re-roofing heroes from earlier this summer, returned from his Missouri home with a wonderful one-seat version of the Leopold Bench (pictured below). He wowed us with his prototype, then volunteers assembled three more.

x-greatwork2

It didn’t take long before the corrals became a literal beehive of activity. Here’s a few more great photos of a very inspiring day at Buffalo Peaks Ranch!

Winner's on Saturday's Best Brother-Sister Team -- Ben & Meredith Sherrill getting it all figured out.

Winner of Saturday’s Best Brother-Sister Team — Ben & Meredith Sherrill getting it all figured out.

Todd Matuszewicz & Colton Mailes bearing down on another Leopold Bench

Todd Matuszewicz & Colton Mailes bearing down on another Leopold Bench

Bob Dragonfly & Charlie Lavender reshaping old timbers into something new.

Bob Dragonfly & Charlie Lavender reshaping old timbers into something new.

Teamwork -- Zia Klamm & Sam Bell getting it done!

Teamwork — Zia Klamm & Sam Bell getting it done!

With plenty of time for fun -- Team leader Todd Matuszewicz, Bob Ballard & Ben Sherrill enjoying the day!

With plenty of time for fun — Team leader Todd Matuszewicz, Bob Ballard & Ben Sherrill discussing the finer points of hand tool use.

By the end of the day, ten sturdy Leopold Benches built, with the makings for more that we'll assemble on our next workday!

By the end of the day, ten sturdy Leopold Benches built, with the makings for more that we’ll assemble on our next workday!

Back at the Main House, one of Kim Mailes' outstanding one-seat Leopold Benches, alongside a very handy Dog Bench.

Back at the Main House, one of Kim Mailes’ outstanding one-seat Leopold Benches, alongside a very handy Dog Bench.

With great thanks to our amazing team of volunteers — friends of the Rocky Mountain Land Library forever:

Ted Schultz, Todd Matuszewicz, the Mailes family (Kim, Carol, Colton & Audrey), Susie Fredericks Nulty, Diane Betts, Kim & Ken Luedke, Ben & Meredith Sherrill. Bob Ballard, Anna Kongs, Charlie Lavender, Tom Wylie, Glenda Leader & Marc Janis, Nancy Wood (& Bob!), Lynn Lafleur Dragonfly, Bob Dragonfly, Zia Klamm, Bill Threlfall, and Sam Bell.

Aldo's inspiration

Here’s a few Aldo Leopold books we set up on the Front Porch — something to inspire the day!

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