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 has also cosponsored presentations, including the webinar series Nontimber Forest Products and the Bioeconomy.

FHS currently offers the virtual monthly lecture series Conversations in Forest History, hosted by FHS historian Jamie Lewis. 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

Dec. 1, 2022

(60 minutes)

Watch it HERE

Shell-Shocked and Irradiated: Managing Ukraine’s Forests in Time of War

Jameson Karns of the Huntington-USC Institute on California & the West moderated a conversation with Professor Sergiy Zibtsez, the head of the Regional Eastern Europe Monitoring Center (REEFMC), about the historical and current challenges of Ukrainian forest fire management.Additional contemporary and historical perspective was offered by Robert English, Professor of International Relations, at USC Dornsife. The webinar was cosponsored by the Huntington-USC Institute on California & the West and the Forest History Society.

Sergiy Zibtsev is a professor at the Department of Silviculture of the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine and Head of the Regional Eastern Europe Fire Monitoring Center (REEFMC) based in Kyiv. Robert English is an associate professor of International Relations, Slavic Languages and Literature, and Environment Studies. He formerly worked as a policy analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense and the Committee for National Security. Jameson Karns is a former firefighter whose research focuses on international wildfire management. He serves as the ICW's “West on Fire” Assistant Research Director.

August 24, 2022

(60 minutes)

Watch it HERE

Folklore and the Forest

Historians Sue Fawn Chung and Will Gow and anthropologist Stacey Lynn Camp joined Shing Yin Khor to discuss Khor's The Legend of Auntie Po. Set in an 1880s logging camp in the Sierras, this 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.

The webinar was cosponsored by the Huntington-USC Institute on California & the West and the Forest History Society.

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