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.

FHS currently offers two virtual lecture series: Conversations in Forest History and Unlocking the Bioeconomy and Nontimber Forest Products.

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. This series ended in 2021.

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


Series host and FHS historian Jamie Lewis hears from and talks with leading experts
as they apply their historical knowledge to current topics in forest and environmental history. Presenters include scholars, artists, and scientists.


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.


Presenters explored the biggest topics of the last couple of years—racial inequality and social justice, social isolation and social distancing, and climate change—through the lens of environmental history, biography, and memoir. The series ended in Oct. 2021.

other presentations

August 24, 2022

(60 minutes)

"Folklore and the Forest"

Historians Sue Fawn Chung and Will Gow and anthropologist Stacey Lynn Camp join Shing Yin Khor to discuss Khor's The Legend of Auntie Po. Set in an 1880s logging camp in the Sierras, Khor's graphic novel weaves together stories of thirteen-year old Mei and her friends and family—including the mythical Auntie Po, logging camp life, and Chinese American community-building during the Chinese Exclusion Era. Presented by the Huntington-USC Institute on California & the West and the Forest History Society. 

Watch it HERE.

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