Weyerhaeuser Fellowship

Lynn Weyerhaeuser Day (1932-1999) and her husband Stanley R. Day (1925-2002) endowed the Society's Frederick K. Weyerhaeuser Forest History Fellowship in 1986 to honor the memory of Lynn's father, F. K. Weyerhaeuser (1895-1978), to support FHS programs, and to strengthen the Society's affiliation with Duke University. The fellowship provides a stipend to Duke University graduate students pursuing research in the fields of forest, conservation, or environmental history.

Fellowship Details

The fellowship consists of an $10,000 stipend, distributed quarterly, to support the research of a Duke University graduate student whose research examines in some way forest and conservation history. The recipient is selected on the basis of merit; proposals are judged in terms of overall significance and quality of presentation. The project must be historical in nature and treat land use, forestry, or the environment in some general way. Examples of acceptable topics include:

  • general changes in a forest ecosystem caused by natural or human intervention;
  • environmental change resulting from the introduction of a nonnative tree or plant species;
  • the evolution of policies or practices relating to natural resource use or management;
  • the historical development of resource-dependent communities;
  • changes in science or technology affecting forestry, natural resource conservation, or environmental management.

The committee that determines the recipient typically includes the Forest History Society president, a representative from Duke University, and select FHS Board members. The fellowship is awarded on an annual basis.

Submission Guidelines

  1. Provide a cover letter that states the title of the proposed research, a one-paragraph summary of the significance of the project, and a description of the historical nature of the project.
  2. Prepare a narrative description of research (up to eight pages), including significance of topic, research approach, author's background, research and writing schedule, and budget (how you plan to use the fellowship if awarded). Attachments are not necessary but may include previous publications, written chapters, and basic bibliography, etc.
  3. Supply curriculum vita and 2 letters of recommendation from persons knowledgeable of your research. Letters of recommendation should address the author's qualifications and may describe the significance of the topic to forest and conservation history. Please have your recommendation letters sent directly from their authors to the FHS office or via email to: andrea.anderson@foresthistory.org.
  4. Send 1 hardcopy of the proposal to:  Forest History Society, 2925 Academy Road, Durham, NC  27705 and an electronic copy to: andrea.anderson@foresthistory.org.
  5. Deadline is January 31 or the first business day after the 31st. Winner usually announced mid-April.
Winners of this award are required to submit one bound copy of their thesis or dissertation, when completed, to the FHS library.



Arthur Braswell, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History, and his research titled "Building the Forever Fort: Militarization and Race in South Carolina since 1917", offers a critical history of South Carolina's Fort Jackson, a prominent player in the state's politics and economy as well as an unintentional custodian of the region's forest ecosystem. Ever since the U.S. Army selected the area for a base installation during World War I, an array of local and federal actors have worked to keep it open in times of war and peace, often fostering unlikely concessions from its Jim Crow Political regime.


Alyssa Russell, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History, and her project, “Economic Development at What Cost? The Fantus Company, Corporate Subsidies, and Working-Class Communities, 1919-1999”. Her dissertation follows the Fantus Company to reveal how the most prominent site selector altered the U.S. economy and to understand the impact of these deals on communities throughout the country.


Vivien Rendleman is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History, and her project, “Unfree Soil: Empire, Labor, and Coercion in the Upper Mississippi River Valley, 1803-1861” asks how the geography of the Upper Mississippi River Valley shaped relationships of work and power in the nineteenth-century United States by centering the region’s Native American people and their lifeways, as well as the historical role of non-human nature.


Jacqueline Gerson is a Ph.D. candidate in the University Program in Ecology at Duke University. Her research, titled "Determining Historical and Current Impacts of Artisanal Gold Mining on the Peruvian Amazon," involves leveraging field samples, satellite records, and dating of tree cores to understand historical patterns associated with land cover and mercury use in the Amazon and their consequences on ecological and human health.


No award given.


Anna Wade is a Ph.D. candidate at the Nicholas School of the Environment and her research project is titled “A Layered Past: Legacy Effects of Sedimentation and Reforestation on Contemporary Soil Processes in the Southern Piedment.” She will be analyzing how historic land use, previously cultivated and eroded by cotton and other farming practices, is still affecting the dynamics of soil functioning in both buried valley bottoms and eroded uplands.


Zachary Brecheisen's “Soil Macropore Regeneration: Landuse Histories and their Legacies in the Physical Soil Systems of the Southern Piedmont” explores the linkages between the physical environment and the biophysical processes that take place upon and within it. His project seeks to uncover the ways in which humans have altered their physical environment through historic plantation agriculture and the continued legacies of that disturbance long after agricultural abandonment. Zach is a Ph.D. candidate at the Nicholas School of the Environment/Duke University.


David Grace is a dual master's candidate at the Nicholas School of the Environment. His project, "The Sacred Groves of India’s Independence: Revisiting Tradition with Forest Conservation in India’s National Capital Region, 1864-2016," intends to study Indian sacred groves after independence in the huge urban agglomeration that that has become Delhi, examining what he calls a hinge between cultural and ecological systems. The central argument of his work is that the understanding of the institutional qualities which have preserved particular sacred groves amidst local deforestation will yield a richer understanding of the key drivers of forest conservation generally.


Thomas Cinq-Mars' "'Friendship Like Steel Welds': The Druzhba Oil Pipeline and the (Un)Making of the Socialist World, 1948-1994" project explores the construction of the longest oil pipeline in the world (roughly 5,500 kilometers), and its effects on the formation of socialist political economies. Cinq-Mars has confirmed through archival sources that the pipeline, still in use today, was built through 450 kilometers of undeveloped forestland in the USSR alone. His research into the conceptualization, planning, and construction of Druzhba reconfigures the history of the Cold War, viewing that competition between political and economic systems from the perspective of natural resource management, particularly petroleum management. He argues that Soviet industry leaders did indeed craft environmentalist policies that significantly circumscribed petroleum production and contends that they did so in part because of interactions with North American Petroleum companies. He intends to demonstrate that the forest histories of two disparate landmasses, North America and Eurasia, are intrinsically interconnected and aims to bring natural resource management to fore among myriad scholars of the Cold War, a truly interdisciplinary cohort, and contribute to ongoing discussions of environmental sustainability.


Jonathon Free's work "Dark as a Dungeon: Coal, Community, and Risk in the 1970s," explores changes in the American coal industry between the late 1960s and the early 1980s. While coal companies relied primarily on underground mines before the 1970s, surface mines became the source of a majority of coal mined in the United States by 1983. As the coal industry shifted from underground to surface mining, the environmental risks associated with coal changed as well. Free's project demonstrates how efforts by coalfield residents, policy makers, and industry leaders, who attempted to confront the risks of underground mining, contributed to the emergence of this new set of risks and examines how the new risks influenced the environment, politics, and the economy of the late twentieth century U.S.


Ansel Bubel's "Restoring the Forests of Lewis and Clark" created a forest management plan and a simulation model for forest restoration in the Sitka Spruce forest of northwest Oregon.  The project has broad application to forest restoration practices in the Pacific Northwest.  His particular project is historically significant in seeking to restore a coastal Oregon landscape to the condition described by Lewis and Clark.


Kimberly R. Marion Suiseeya's project was: “Institutions, Cross-Scale Linkages, and Justice: Exploring the Human Security Implications of Global Forest Regimes.” It examines how dynamic institutions that govern human-environment relationships interact with global principles of justice to produce or reduce vulnerability in forest-dependent communities. The broad objective of this research is to understand the causal mechanisms behind institutional development in forest governance in order to aid decision-makers to design institutions that lead to better outcomes for forests and forest-dependent communities.


Matthew Ruttledge's project is "Oak Regeneration and the Restoration of Hardwood Forests: Utilization of Low Value Species and Restoration of the Historical Covertype." This project will use historical inventory date to analyze the changing composition of hardwood stands. The project will attempt to understand how historical management techniques caused the trend in species composition of hardwood stands and potentially reverse the trend and restore this historical dominance of oak and hickory.

Risha Druckman worked on "Knowing the Wind and Which Way It Blows: A Genealogy of Wind-Knowledge Production in America (1600-2000)." Wind played a key role in the growth and expansion of the American nation. It allowed settlers to arrive on the North American continent via sailing ships, to explore and settle the west aided by windmills and sail-wagons, and it granted courageous adventurers access to the blue skies and beyond. As knowledge about the wind changed over time, so too did its applications. What were the social and cultural consequences? How did wind become intimately tied to American national identity as a symbol of the country's unique mission and destiny and as a source of its power? This project explores these questions through an investigation of five regimes of wind-knowledge that emerged between 1600 and the present.

Yaron Miller examines "The Secondary Effects of Federal Historical Land Preservation Strategies and their implications for Land Trusts." He analyzes the consequences of changes in federal land preservation strategies of Civil War battlefields from both an ecological and governance stand point. This study will determine to what extent policy changes have altered the size of parcels, connectivity of protected habitats, and type of ecosystems targeted and preserved.


Gwendolyn Williams' project entitled "From Pine to Oak: A Mycorrhizal Perspective on Old-field Succession" examined the relationship between ectomycorrhizal host preference and plant community succession. This research will 1) determine whether adult trees effectively pre-select the EM fungi available to newly recruited seedlings, 2) examine the impact of fungal host preference on seedling survivorship and growth, and 3) identify fungal taxa most likely to aid in forest recovery after land use. These data will help to address controversies over the historical relationship between oak and pine species and will suggest new directions for forest restoration in the Piedmont region of North Carolina.


No award given.


Kristin Wintersteen, a History Department Ph.D. candidate, studied "Fishing for Food and Fodder: The Transnational Environmental History of Fishmeal in Chile and Peru, 1960-1998." Her project traced the history of the fishmeal industry in the Southeast Pacific, where two of the top five global fishing nations have grappled with environmental limits and powerful interest groups within a shifting international political, socio-economic, and legal landscape since the 1960s.


Krithi Karanth, a Ph.D. student, investigated "Forests, People, and Wildlife: Forest History and its Influence on Large Mammal Range Contractions and Extinctions in India." Her proposal integrated both forestry and historical questions into a larger project. Karanth's ambition of integrating the landscape changes and shifting species distribution patterns into a comprehensive framework that interrogated the last 150 years of land use and wildlife policy was a compelling and promising project.


Jason A. Jackson, a Ph.D. student, investigated "Fungal Succession: A History of Fungal Communities and Land Use Change." One reviewer wrote, "This sophisticated piece of science and history comes the closest to integrating what I think of as the objectives of the Weyerhaeuser Fellowship. Jackson nicely proposes to integrate forestry, history, and ecology, making this an exceptionally worthwhile project."


Miguel J. Schwartz proposes to map fine scale landscape legacies of human land use in a well-studied part of the central Piedmont by assembling diverse sources of data on historical land use for his project, "The Spatial and Temporal Pattern of Land Use History (1800-2000) in the Central Piedmont of North Carolina". This land use history map would be the first of its kind for the southeastern United States.


The Forest History Society awarded Ashwini Chhatre, a third-year graduate student in the department of political science, the 2004-2005 fellowship to support his research on "Political Landscapes: Property, Environment, and Democracy in the Western Himalayas." His project included an examination of the interaction between property rights, environmental change, democratic politics, and forest policies from 1846 to 2003.


Master of Environmental Management and Master of Public Policy candidate Elaine Lai won the 2003-2004 Weyerhaeuser Fellowship. Her project "Path of the Panther: Land Use Change Analysis and Reserve Design in Southeastern Mexico" integrated history, policy, and science in an effort to best inform conservation planning in Mexico.


Benjamin Poulter received the 2002-2003 Fellowship to assist his Ph.D. studies on the response of a coastal North Carolina forest to recent sea-level rise and land use change. His project involved reconstructing the historical extent of coastal forests for the Albemarle-Pamlico peninsula. In 2002 he was a second-year student in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences program at Duke University.