On October 10, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies organized a unique event where people had the opportunity to share their stories about connecting to public land from the past, present, and future. The event was called “The Year of the Environment – Lands Story Telling” celebrating the 50th year of the Nelson Institute and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. A few special guests were Bill L. Quackenbush, a Ho-Chunk Deer Clan Member; Jackson Nesbit, an 8th grade student at Cardinal Heights Middle School in Sun Prairie; and our very own R. Justin Hougham, the Director of Upham Woods. Justin spoke about how the formation of Blackhawk Island, our 200-acre island is due to the dam constructed in Wisconsin Dells in 1906. He also shared that the island has ecosystems unique to the surrounding area that Aldo Leopold appreciated while exploring with Wakelin McNeil (Ranger Mac), Upham’s first superintendent. Each story shared at the event was special and created a greater appreciation for public land and water in our beautiful state.