Peeling Back The Bark

  • The Bureau of Land Management at Seventy-Five: Who Will Celebrate with Them?

    By Guest Contributor on March 29, 2022

    In 2021, the Bureau of Land Management turned 75 but with little if any fanfare. Historian James R. Skillen, who's written extensively about the BLM, reflected upon its history. This article appears in the 2021 issue of Forest History Today.…

  • “How Great the Gain!”: Women and the Forest Service

    By James Lewis on August 28, 2021

    This post, coauthored by James G. Lewis of the Forest History Society and Rachel D. Kline of the U.S. Forest Service, was originally published in a special issue of the journal Western Forester on "Women in Forestry" in August 2021.

  • How Forest History Can Be Like A Beethoven Symphony

    By James Lewis on January 16, 2021

    This post is adapted from the Editor’s Note in the Spring/Fall 2020 issue of Forest History Today.

    As I sit here in a medical facility in December, waiting to be called, surrounded by people wearing masks because of the global …

  • “Madam Secretary” and the Gifford Pinchot Connection

    By James Lewis on November 21, 2019

    I’d never seen the TV series Madam Secretary until this week. Now in its sixth season, former secretary of State Elizabeth McCord is president of the United States. The character’s concern about climate change makes it unsurprising to see landscape …

  • Meet a Conservation Character: Rozzie the Rat

    By James Lewis on November 6, 2017

    Everyone knows Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl, and maybe even Ranger Rick Raccoon. While there are many forest-related fictional characters that long ago fell by the wayside, new ones are appearing all the time. We thought we’d interview the people behind 

  • Reclaiming Henry David Thoreau, Forest Historian

    By James Lewis on July 12, 2017

    Crayon portrait of Henry David Thoreau, 1854. (public domain)

    The bicentennial of the birth of Henry David Thoreau this month comes at an auspicious time. Given the political climate we live in, his essay "Civil Disobedience" resonates today more than …

  • Collaboration, Inclusivity, and Resilience: Three Birthday Wishes for the Forest Service’s Second Century

    By James Lewis on June 30, 2017

    July 1 marks the anniversary of the U.S. Forest Service’s establishment of the National Forest System in 1907—the day the “federal forest reserves” were renamed “national forests.” Historian Char Miller wants to share his birthday wishes for them.

    Not every …

  • In the Wake of the Ottumwa Belle: From Crisis to Conservation

    By Guest Contributor on August 13, 2015

    On the 100th anniversary of the last log raft floated on the Upper Mississippi River, scholar and Aldo Leopold biographer Curt Meine reflects upon conservation efforts over the last century and the challenges that lay ahead.

    This summer marks an …

  • Honoring America’s First Forester on His 150th Birthday

    By James Lewis on August 11, 2015

    The following is an op-ed piece by FHS staff historian James G. Lewis that appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times on August 9, 2015, in honor of Gifford Pinchot’s 150th birthday on August 11. 

    Born just after the guns of the …

  • 7/31/1865: Austin Cary, the Father of Southern Forestry, Born

    By James Lewis on July 31, 2015

    Austin Cary, one of the great unsung heroes of American forestry, was born this date in 1865 in East Machias, Maine. A Yankee through and through, he found professional success in the South, eventually becoming known as the "Father of …

  • Schenck Documentary Now In Production!

    By James Lewis on August 14, 2014

    What began as a millionaire’s dream, a genius’s vision, and a forester’s labor is now being captured in a Forest History Society documentary film. This spring the Forest History Society joined forces with Bonesteel Films to produce First in Forestry

  • Forgotten Characters from Forest History: Joe Beaver

    By Eben Lehman on August 12, 2014

    Everyone knows Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl, and maybe even Ranger Rick Raccoon, but there are many other forest and forestry-related fictional characters that long ago fell by the wayside. Peeling Back the Bark's series on “Forgotten Characters from

  • "The Day JFK Was Here": Pinchot Institute Dedicated 9/24/1963

    By James Lewis on September 13, 2013

    By Dan Dwyer, Port Jervis Union-Gazette¹

    MILFORD, Penn., Sept. 24—

    The helicopter landed exactly on time. It was 1 p.m.

    The door opened and became a ramp and this man came out.

    It was the start of a hectic 70-minute …

  • New Documentary Film on the Life and Legacy of Gifford Pinchot

    By Guest Contributor on February 28, 2013

    We’ve asked Leila Pinchot, a Research Fellow at the Pinchot Institute for Conservation (PIC) and a descendant of Gifford Pinchot, to share her thoughts as the premiere date of a new film about Gifford Pinchot approaches. 

    Starting in March, keep …

  • Why we need Obama's Veterans Conservation Corps (op-ed)

    By James Lewis on March 8, 2012

    The following is an op-ed piece written by FHS staff historian James G. Lewis that appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times on February 19, 2012.

    In his State of the Union address last month and again at a recent press event, …

  • Happy 125th Birthday, Aldo Leopold!

    By Guest Contributor on January 11, 2012

    On this date in 1887, author, forester, ecologist, and conservationist Aldo Leopold was born in Burlington, Iowa. The founder of the science of wildlife management and a major influence on the wilderness movement, wildlife preservation, and environmental ethics, he is

  • The Weeks Act Forests: A Bargain and an Investment

    By Guest Contributor on February 24, 2011

    To help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Weeks Act, we have asked Dr. Bob Healy of Duke University’s Nicholas School for the Environment to write a series of blog posts in which he’ll reflect on his classic book,

  • Weeks Act Centennial Series: Revisiting “The Lands Nobody Wanted”

    By Guest Contributor on December 3, 2010

    To help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Weeks Act in 2011, Peeling Back the Bark has asked Dr. Bob Healy of Duke University’s Nicholas School for the Environment to write a series of blog posts in which he’ll reflect

  • January 19, 1812: John Aston Warder, Founder of the American Forestry Association, is Born

    By Eben Lehman on January 19, 2010

    Happy birthday to Dr. John Aston Warder, founder of the American Forestry Association, and influential figure in the development of American horticulture and forestry.

    On this date in 1812, John Aston Warder was born near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The eldest son …

  • Gifford Pinchot and the Search for "Permanent Peace"

    By James Lewis on January 11, 2010

    The following is an op-ed piece that appeared in the Raleigh News and Observer on January 3, 2010. It was co-authored by FHS staff historian James G. Lewis and FHS member and professor of environmental history Char Miller.

    Getting together…
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