Nature, love letters and the passion of becoming a forester

Photo by Bibi Gaston taken at Dumbarton Oaks.

Good morning to all on this day after Valentine's Day. Oh, and Happy President's Day!

And speaking of love, we might think of the First Forester's letters to their "Old Chief" Gifford Pinchot as love letters of a sort. They were, in fact, testimonials that recalled the most meaningful time of their young lives in service to both man and nature.

We learn that some young men, like Ranger Earl H. Frothingham, became interested in a career in forestry because of their passion for the study of birds. Others confessed to a love of wildflowers and the tallgrass prairie. Still others, we find, were committed to the notion, not new at the time, promoted by Gifford Pinchot and Theodore Roosevelt, that a civilization that protected its resources, including its water, wildlife and forests would survive, perhaps even thrive, while those that did not would fall.

Have a great day and please feel free to leave a message.



Crater Lake's First Fish!

By Epmatsw - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Included in the treasure trove of correspondence between the First foresters and their "Old Chief," we learn that Ranger Charles J. Van Zile was said to have been one of the first to seed our national treasure, Crater Lake, with fish in about the year 1900. Who knew? Did you? If you did, it would be great to hear from you in the comments section below.

The soon-to be-released "Gifford Pinchot and the First Foresters: the Untold Story of the Brave Men and Women Who Launched the American Conservation Movement" is filled with fascinating insights and historic American "firsts," that deepen our appreciation of nature, early conservation efforts, and the adventure, trials, and experimentation of this early group of public






First Foresters First Blog Post!

There is nothing quite as fun or satisfying as discovering something that, for a while at least, makes other things make perfect sense. A light goes on, a candle lit, a puzzle piece found. For a while we are suspended in mid-air thinking, "I didn't know that." Or, "is that how that happened, really!?" "That's incredible!"

Life is like that. We stumble on a fact or new information that leads us to other information that changes us and offers us a new way to think about the world. We could argue with this or that. But there's no need to dispute the tales of the dead, particularly those who lived their lives in service to the Conservation of Nature for the sake of the American people.

Between the years 1937 and 1941, more than two hundred men and women wrote over 5,000 pages of letters to their old boss, then former Pennsylvania Governor and Chief of the U. S. Forest Service Gifford Pinchot, about the work that they had performed when they were just starting out as public servants. This blog is dedicated to them--to more than 226 men and women-- whose names and lives have been forgotten, or never heard of, but who cared so deeply about the United States of America, and the conservation of her precious resources, that they did what they did not for the sake of fame or prosperity. Their story is one that makes so many other things make perfect sense. Their stories were simply incredible.