Monday, February 01, 2016

'America's First Forest' premieres Wednesday

America’s First Forest, the first full-length, in-depth documentary film ever made about legendary forester and educator Carl Schenck, will have its broadcast premiere on UNC-TV at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The new film explores Carl Schenck’s work at the Biltmore Estate and its impact on the conservation movement. Beginning in April, the film will be distributed to public television stations around the country by American Public Television. America’s First Forest: Carl Schenck and the Asheville Experiment is produced by the Forest History Society in cooperation with Bonesteel Films, the film company of Paul Bonesteel of Asheville and Flat Rock. The film tells the story of how Carl Schenck, a German forester, realized Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision of introducing forestry to America. It was on George Vanderbilt’s magnificent Biltmore Estate in Asheville that a 120,000-acre forest became America’s first scientifically managed forest. There the nation’s first forestry school was founded, and the call for creating national forests in the eastern United States was inspired. Today the Biltmore Forest School grounds and buildings are now preserved and celebrated as the Cradle of Forestry in America National Historic Site near Asheville. The site lies in the heart of the Pisgah National Forest, which turns 100 this year. Its establishment is another part of Dr. Schenck’s legacy. Although Dr. Schenck only worked in the United States from 1895 to 1913, he became nationally renowned for his work as an educator, forester, lumberman, and forest conservation advocate. Central to Dr. Schenck’s extraordinary career and impact was establishing the Biltmore Forest School—America’s first and arguably most influential. With the Biltmore Forest School and his experiments on the ground, Schenck laid the foundation for the conservation movement in the twentieth century and still inspires people today. Drawing on his memoir Cradle of Forestry in America: The Biltmore Forest School, 1898–1913, the new documentary America's First Forest: Carl Schenck and the Asheville Experiment is the first film to examine the pivotal role of Biltmore Estate chief forester Carl Schenck and America’s first school of forestry in American history. Though the conservation movement and professional forestry began on Biltmore’s forested lands, Schenck remains an unheralded early leader of both...more

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