The Forest School

History

The Forest School is the oldest continuous professional graduate forestry school in the nation, formed at the birth of the American conservation movement and intricately tied to the science and management of forests that emerged in New England.

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    It was established in 1900 as The Yale Forest School by Gifford Pinchot and Henry S. Graves, with founding gifts from both individuals and the Pinchot family. During its first four decades, the School graduated the first four chiefs of the U.S. Forest Service. Since its early history, The Forest School has been at the forefront of developing approaches to the practice of forestry, generating knowledge about forests, and promoting the values they bring to people’s livelihoods and the well-being of nations.

    Timeline of Our History


    1900

    Yale Forest School founded

    The Yale Forest School finds its home in Marsh Hall, the former residence of Othniel C. Marsh, naturalist and paleontologist of Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History.

    1901

    First summer forest apprenticeships

    The first summer camp for incoming students begins at Grey Towers, the Pinchot family home in Milford, Pennsylvania (Now known as MODS, this camp is currently held in CT).

    1905

    U.S. Forest Service founded

    President Theodore Roosevelt creates the U.S. Forest Service and names Gifford Pinchot its first chief overseeing the national forest system.

    1908

    The Yale Forests

    The first of seven forests that become known as Yale Forests, is acquired in New Hampshire and named after ecologist James W. Toumey, the School’s first faculty member as well as a founder of the Ecological Society of America.

    1910s

    International Students

    The School welcomes its first international students from China and the Philippines.

    1912

    Bulletin Series

    The nation’s first formal series of studies on the practice of forestry and its associated disciplines is published.

    1921

    Yale School of Forestry

    The School name changes to the Yale School of Forestry.

    Faculty member Ralph Chipman Hawley’s “The Practice of Silviculture” is published. (More editions are published in 1954, 1961, and 1986 by Professor David M. Smith and in 2018 by Professor Mark S. Ashton.)

    1930-34

    Yale-Myers Forest

    George Hewitt Myers MF ’01 gifts nearly 7,000 acres of land in northeastern Connecticut to the Yale School of Forestry to create the Yale-Myers Forest. The forest summer camp moves to Yale-Myers.

    1935

    Accreditation

    The School receives accreditation from the Society of American Foresters, one of the first in the U.S. to receive it for its forestry degree.

    1938

    Hurricane

    Yale-Myers Forest damage from hurricane affects timber harvesting.

    1941

    Great Mountain Forest

    The Yale Camp at Great Mountain Forest in northwestern Connecticut is completed by Edward “Ted” Coffin Childs ’28 YC, ’32 MF. The Yale forest field camp moves from Yale-Myers to Great Mountain after the 1938 hurricane.

    1969

    First Female Graduates

    Patricia A. DeWitt '69 MFS; Diana Starr Cooper '69 MFS; and Nancy Poole '69 MS, who were the first three female students admitted to the School, graduate.

    1972

    Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

    Name is changed to the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies to reflect the School’s wider breadth of scholarship, including studies in humanities and the social sciences.

    1981

    First woman named to faculty

    Wildlife ecologist Patricia Moehlman is hired as the first female assistant professor in wildlife ecology, a tenure track position.

    1983

    Tropical Resources Institute

    The Tropical Resources Institute (TRI), the first thematically focused center at the School, is created as an endowed fellowship program supporting student research in the tropics.

    1990

    Urban Resources Initiative

    Urban Resources Initiative (URI) is founded as a community forestry organization engaging students, staff, faculty, and New Haven community members in the restoration and development of New Haven’s green spaces.

    1990

    Forest Stand Dynamics

    Professor Chadwick Oliver, whose research focuses on how forests develop and how silviculture can be applied to ecological systems, and Bruce Larson publish the textbook “Forest Stand Dynamics.”

    1994

    Yale Forest Forum

    Yale Forest Forum (YFF) is established and becomes the longest running speaker series at the School, becoming an official program in 1997.

    2000

    The Forests Dialogue

    Building on shared learning and trust in the forestry sector, TFD is established, providing international leaders in the forest sector with a multi-stakeholder dialogue platform and process to develop collaborative solutions and conflict resolution to achieve sustainable forest management and conservation around the world.

    2006

    The Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative

    Developed by forestry faculty, the Environmental Leadership & Training Initiative (ELTI) is created to aid practitioners in restoring and conserving forests in human-dominated landscapes throughout the global tropics.

    2020

    The Forest School at the Yale School of the Environment

    The School changes its name to the Yale School of the Environment with The Forest School established as a School within the broader School, reflecting the historic, current, and future importance of forestry in the broader environmental field.

    At The Forest School, we continue our core mission of training foresters as well as forest policy makers, non-profit leaders, and land stewards throughout the world. Our approach to education remains rooted in the Henry Graves model from 1900, bringing together students with varying undergraduate degrees, wide environmental experiences, and different cultural backgrounds. Today, in recognition of the original stewards of the Yale Forests and this shared Northeastern landscape, we are revisiting our century-old history and deepening our understanding of Native relationships with this land.

    **More dates will be added to this timeline as information is verified