Documentary Explores Makers of the First US Forest
Merck Forest and Farmland Center and the Salem Courthouse Community Center will co-host a free screening of ‘America’s First Forest’ on Thursday, May 4, at 7 p.m. This in-depth documentary about legendary forester and educator Dr. Carl Alwin Schenck is part of the Salem Courthouse’s History Lecture Series. It explores Schenck’s work at the North Carolina estate of millionaire George Vanderbilt and its impact on the conservation movement. The extraordinary collaboration between Vanderbilt, Schenck, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and US Forest Service founder Gifford Pinchot, resulted in the founding of the nation’s first – and arguably most influential – forestry school, inspiring the call for creating national forests in the eastern United States. By introducing scientific forest management to America and establishing the Biltmore Forest School, Schenck laid the foundation for the conservation movement in the 20th century, a movement which continues to inspire people today. Schenck has a local connection; as second cousin and mentor to Merck Forest founder George Merck, he inspired the establishment of the Vermont Forest and Farmland Foundation in 1950, the precursor of the Merck Forest and Farmland Center. Numerous plantations of European tree species were established under Dr. Schenck’s guidance. To learn more, visit americasfirstforest.org. The film will be shown at the Courthouse Community Center, 58 East Broadway, Salem, N.Y. For more information about the screening, call 802-394-7836, or visit merckforest.org.