black and white photo of two middle school aged children looking out over a mountain scape

Educational Outreach

Part of the mission of FHS is to educate students of all ages about the history of human interaction with the forested environment. By using our library and archival materials, publications, and films, we disseminate information in innovative ways. Through the Lynn W. Day Distinguished Lectureship in Forest and Conservation History, we invite a leading scholar or leader in natural resources who is shaping our understanding of human history and environmental change to deliver a talk; recordings of the talks are available on our YouTube channel. Our middle school environmental education curriculum “If Trees Could Talk” is available as a free resource. For 7th through 12th grades, we offer teachers’ guides to the U.S. Forest Service history documentary The Greatest Good and America’s First Forest: Carl Schenck and the Asheville Experiment, our award-winning film about the birth of professional forestry and the conservation movement. Both films are appropriate for college and continuing education classes.



If Trees Could Talk: A Curriculum in Environmental History is an 11-module, middle school curriculum that gives teachers the opportunity to download social studies activities that are based upon archival materials. The centerpiece of each module is a compilation of primary resources—documents, maps, newspaper articles, oral histories or photographs—from which students are asked to gather, examine, and analyze information, and synthesize insights.

Webinars and Lectures

FHS offers in-person and virtual lectures. The Lynn Day Distinguished Lectureship features leading historians, scientists, and policymakers. The webinar series Conversations in Forest History covers a wide range of topics and is hosted by FHS Historian Jamie Lewis. Unprecedented Seasons explored the issues of climate change, social isolation, and civil rights during the COVID pandemic through the lens of biography. All presentations are available later on our YouTube channel.

America's First Forest

The film America's First Forest (55 min.), and its adapted version First in Forestry (28 min.), is about the Biltmore Forest School and the birth of the forest conservation in the United States. FHS has developed worksheets and discussion questions for both films. The films correlate with several essential standards identified in the North Carolina Eighth Grade Social Studies Standard Course of Study.