Author and Photos by Talking Forests 

Patrick Hiesl the Assistant Professor of Forest Operations from Clemson University was interviewed by Candra Burns of Talking Forests about the Cradle of Forestry, the APSAF Centennial Monument, and Carl Schenck a German Forester who brought sustainable forest practices to the USA in 1895.

His career profile from Clemson University in South Carolina:

Patrick was an undergrad in Germany where he is from. During his first 4 years of school, he earned a B.S. in Forest Management at the University of Applied Forest Sciences Rottenburg and graduated in 2010. Then he moved to Maine, USA to go to graduate school and earned his M.S. in Forest Resources at the University of Maine and graduated in 2013. Then he got his Ph.D. in Forest Resources at the University of Maine in 2015. After his graduate school and Ph.D., he got lucky and interviewed for the forest operations teaching position at Clemson University in 2015 in South Carolina and accepted the position and started teaching. Later, after networking in his local Society of American Forester's chapters, he then worked on the regional level with the APSAF Monument Committee. He was excited to learn about Carl Schenck and his forestry school, as a German, himself. Here is a picture of the schoolhouse that Carl built in the Cradle of Forestry:

Candra was excited to talk with Patrick in this interview because she lived in Germany for 3 years from 2018-2020. She interviewed a German, Patrick Hiesl, on this podcast episode. She had friends in WA State that were foresters that helped German investment foresters use funding from USA forests to build bridges at their castles in Germany. When Candra lived in Germany, she could leave her backyard and go into a forest and that was not trespassing in Germany. That is very different than the private areas of the USA, especially in the fragmented areas where she currently lives in the south. Candra learned about Carl Schenck in 2015 at a WA State SAF meeting where they viewed “America’s First Forest” in 2015. Ever since she has been intrigued and got lucky that she was able to live in Germany with her USAF husband and travel within Europe for the first 2 years, pre-COVID.

She visited the Cradle of Forestry and the APSAF Monument in 2021 when she had a chance during Memorial Day weekend and was excited that the USAF picked her new state as the “First in Forestry” state.

What does “First in Forestry” mean?

“From 1889 to 1895 Schenck also served as assistant and secretary to Sir Dietrich Brandis, a former inspector general of forestry in India, who instructed candidates for the Indian Forest Service during their required year's tour with German supervisors of forestry. It was Brandis who recommended Schenck, through Gifford Pinchot, to George W. Vanderbilt for the position of forester at his Biltmore Estate in Asheville.” Schenck, a German came here to America to teach us forestry practices. “In the early fall of 1898 Schenck opened, with the permission of George Vanderbilt, the first school of scientific forestry in the United States.”

Preparing for the APSAF Monument Patrick said it took about “1.5 years once we really got started when working on the site and final version” on the Cradle of Forestry site. FIND Outdoors helps us maintain the monument by cutting the grass and will make sure it is visible to the public right outside the back doors of the Cradle of Forestry near the path to the trails. We unveiled the monument on Arbor Day in 2021.

America is multiple different cultures and we look into how things developed and how these cultures had an influence in forestry in America on a larger scale. Those cultural perspectives came in from foresters around the world and now we have experts and specialists that help mitigate things like climate change.

You can learn more by going to the websites below.

References and Links:

Appalachian Society of American Foresters

FIND Outdoors

US Forest Service, Pisgah National Forest

APSAF Monument Videos

Schenck, Carl Alwin

Biltmore Forest School

America’s First Forest

APSAF Annual Meeting




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