Presentations and Discussions

FHS sponsors presentations, discussions, and lectures at its headquarters in Durham, at conferences, and online. Presenters from varied backgrounds give talks on unique and provocative topics such as the life of naturalist-scientist Alexander von Humboldt, the U.S. Forest Service in the civil rights era, and the intersection of American wilderness and the global pandemic. Recordings of the presentations are later made available on our YouTube channel.

In 2021, FHS began offering two virtual lecture series. In Unprecedented Seasons, speakers explored the biggest topics of the years 2020 and 2021—racial inequality and social justice, social isolation/distancing, and climate change—through the lens of environmental history and biography and memoir. The series Unlocking the Bioeconomy and Nontimber Forest Products offers experts from around the world discussing different aspects of the bioeconomy, which can reduce environmental impacts of economic growth by science-based management that promotes sustainable harvests and production of non-timber forest products. This series is presented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, The Forest History Society, Renmin University of China, and the IUFRO Task Force.

These programs are supported in part by the Society's Lynn W. Day Endowment.

The re-created cabin of Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond.
mushrooms in Great Smoky Mtns_crop

Presenters use the lens of environmental history, biography, and memoir to explore the biggest topics of the past few years: racial inequality and social justice, social isolation and social distancing, the pandemic, and climate change.


Experts discuss how the bioeconomy can reduce the environmental impacts of economic growth by promoting sustainable harvests and production of nontimber forest products such as food and medicine.

upcoming events

Nov. 18, 2021
8:30 am ET
"Commercialization of Baobab Fruit Products as an Exemplary NTFP: Lessons Learned from Local to Global Markets"
A virtual presentation by Katie Meinhold. Part of the Unlocking the Bioeconomy for Nontimber Forest Products series.
Learn more and register HERE.

other presentations

Nov. 1 & 2, 2019 "A Colloquium Celebrating Alexander von Humboldt's 250th Birthday". Held in cooperation with Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. Presenters were:

  • Stephen Bell, Department of Geography, UCLA (A Life in Shadow: Aimé Bonpland in Southern South America)
  • Stephen Jackson, U.S. Geological Survey and University of Arizona (editor, Humboldt’s Essay on the Geography of Plants, and co-editor with Laura Dassow Walls of Humboldt’s Ansichten der Nature)
  • Elizabeth Millán, Department of Philosophy, DePaul University (The Romantic Roots of Alexander von Humboldt’s Presentation of Nature)
  • Nicolaas Rupke, Institut fűr Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Universität Göttingen (Alexander von Humboldt: A Metabiography)
  • Laura Dassow Walls, English Department at Notre Dame (Passage to Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Shaping of America)
March 2018 "Science Narrative and Grief in a Climate of Uncertainty”
Talk by Jared Farmer
November 2016 "Digitizing the Past, Preserving the Future: FHS at 70”
Talk by Char Miller