Catch the Wildest Show in Town: Kohl’s Wild Theater Makes Conservation Fun

Estella Leopold is just a normal 10-year-old kid living in 1930s Wisconsin – except most 10-year-olds aren’t being dragged out of bed at the crack of dawn by their father and handed an axe to cut down their first tree. But that’s nothing compared with what’s in store for Estella and her siblings after their father, renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, mysteriously disappears. Was he kidnapped by the ghost of Sand County? Can the kids use their dad’s nature journal to track him down? And why do the animals they meet keep bursting into song? All will be revealed in the hilarious new Kohl’s Wild Theater musical, “Aldo Leopold and the Ghost of Sand County.”

The 40-minute musical – suitable for first- through fifth-graders – is one of six plays Kohl’s Wild Theater (KWT) will perform for schools around southeastern Wisconsin in 2016-17. Through a partnership between Kohl’s Cares, the Milwaukee County Zoo and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee, KWT brings conservation-themed plays to schools within a one-hour radius of the Milwaukee County Zoo, FREE of charge. Performers inspire audiences of all ages through drama, songs and puppetry to care more about our natural world.

The Aldo Leopold play is especially exciting because KWT created the script in collaboration with The Aldo Leopold Foundation and Estella Leopold, the last surviving child of Aldo Leopold. Audiences will learn about the importance of conserving the land and discover other famous conservationists from Wisconsin. Estella even shared an advanced copy of her upcoming memoirs, “Tales from the Shack,” to help the playwrights add authentic details. KWT will also bring back its award-winning “The Congo Code” for students in grades four through eight. The play uses the world of video games to teach kids real-life applications of STEM – science, technology, engineering and math. Visit wildtheater.org and click “Outreach into the Community” to learn more about these and other plays offered in the upcoming season.

If you’ve never seen a KWT play before, you’re in for a treat. Here’s what Michael Moore, principal at General Mitchell Elementary School in West Allis, had to say about the program:

We’ve had Kohl’s Wild Theater come to our school three years in a row. The performers truly understand children and how to present the information at a level that the kids can comprehend. And they make it fun. The kids are engaged, and to get 150 third- and fourth-graders engaged for an hour is impressive. What’s also impressive is that later on the kids can tell us about the messages they learned from the plays.

Booking for the 2016-17 outreach season starts this month and is done on a first-come, first-served basis. Popular dates fill up quickly, so act soon! Visit wildtheater.org for more information. Questions? Call 414-258-2333 or email KWT@zoosociety.org.

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