Wow! It sure has been hot here in North Carolina!! But don't worry, come October we have average temps in the low 70s. But if we are still facing record temperatures, than I will certainly be sitting in on the NAAEE Conference Plenary Panel: Climate Change, Oceans, and Society!
To escape the heat, I headed to the mountains. I have really enjoyed visiting this part of the state on my journeys, there is so much to see! This time, I decided to immerse my turtle self into some more history of the area. When I attended the Sustainable Forestry Teachers' Academy in New Bern, I learned all about the history of the forest industry on our coast (that reminds me... I still have to upload my pictures!) But wow - - did you know that North Carolina is known as the birthplace of forestry in America??
|One of the gardens at the Biltmore Estate|
I learned that a man by the name of George Vanderbilt built this little summer retreat for his family and friends in the mountains of North Carolina outside of Asheville. He called it the Biltmore Estate. I did visit the house, but you can't take any pictures inside. There was so much to look at there - I could have easily spent three days walking through the grounds and gardens! But what I learned is that Vanderbilt worked with three very smart men to convert the tired agricultural land around Biltmore Estate into the beautiful forest we see today. Those three men were Frederick Olmsted, Gifford Pinchot, and Dr. Carl Schenck. These three men created and implemented what is most likely the first written forest management plan in the United States, as well as beginning the first forestry school. You can read about their influence, and learn about it first hand when visiting the Biltmore.
|Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Weeks Act|
I headed up to the Cradle of Forestry, a 6,500 acre historic site within the Pisgah National Forest, set aside by Congress to commemorate the beginning of forestry conservation in the United States. The Pisgah National Forest exists because of the Weeks Act, and the Vanderbilts. The Weeks Act is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year, and the Forest History Society (also based in North Carolina) has a great web site that you can use to help educate yourself and students about this important legislation.
The Cradle has lots of beautiful trails to walk on and see some replica buildings from Schenck's Biltmore Forestry School. One of the buildings is a classroom, and I am sure Schenck's students preferred learning out in the field rather than in that classroom with those hard wooden benches! And since there were no forestry schools in the United States, Schenck wrote most of their textbooks and helped them create many of the tools they would need in the woods, including the Biltmore Stick, which is used to help measure the diameter, height, and volume of trees!
|I had to get up close to read the information about the |
Biltmore Forest School. Glad the volunteers didn't mind me
sitting on the calipers!
|Here I am with my new friend Cindy!|
While on the trails, I met my new friend, Cindy Carpenter. She works for the US Forest Service as the Education and Interpretation Program Manager for the Cradle of Forestry. She has a huge passion for forest history, forestry, and education about our wonderful resources. She even sang me a song while she played her guitar about forests!
Well, I certainly had a great time in the western part of the state again! I did also want to remind you that August 11th is the Early Bird Registration deadline for the NAAEE Conference. Registering early saves you $80. You know what I did with my $80 savings? I registered for one of the pre-conference workshops! There were 16 to choose from, so it was a tough decision. Also - don't forget you can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter... just look for Tryon T. Turtle!