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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

The holiday season is fully upon us, and we here at Peeling Back the Bark want to make sure your gift-giving needs are covered. Below we feature a few items suitable for all the hard-to-please forest history fans on your holiday gift list.

Books are always a great option, and we would be amiss if we didn’t point out a new work co-published by the Forest History Society and Louisiana State University Press: Forestry in the U.S. South: A History. This book explores how, since the mid-twentieth century, the forests of the U.S. South have made significant commercial and environmental gains through collaborations between industry, universities, and government agencies. The history behind these alliances, the success of sustainable forest management, and the evolution of private forestry in the South are all captured in this book, which provides a fascinating and immensely detailed overview of the people and organizations responsible for the revitalization and long-term successes of southern forestry. Forestry in the U.S. South is written by FHS members Mason Carter, Robert Kellison, and Scott Wallinger. Wallinger was also a past chairman of the Forest History Society board of directors.

Forestry in the U.S. South: A History

Two other new books of note would not only look great on a recipient’s coffee table, but are well worth reading as well. The first examines one hundred years of forestry in Texas through the history of two influential state organizations. A Century of Forestry, 1914–2014: Texas Forestry Association and Texas A&M Forest Service provides an illustrated account of Texas’s forest history, detailing important events such as the founding of state and national forests, the establishment of a state tree farm system, developments in forest research, urban forestry initiatives, and the founding of the Texas Forestry Museum. The book also reveals how the Texas Forestry Association and Texas A & M Forest Service have transformed the state’s natural landscape. One hundred years ago, expansive stands of virgin longleaf pine had largely disappeared because of lumber industry practices, along with unsuppressed wildfires. Deforestation had also led to widespread soil erosion that was affecting the state’s streams and rivers. Into this vacuum of forestry leadership entered the Texas Forestry Association (TFA), which was established in 1914 to promote forest conservation in the state. TFA members, led by William Goodrich Jones, a banker turned conservationist, continued a decade-old quest to create the Department of Forestry, now called the Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS). With that, Texas became the first state in the nation to establish its state forestry agency as part of a land-grant college. Since their creation, TFA and TFS have worked to establish pine seedling nurseries, fire control projects, and state-administered forest areas. With its large format and attractive presentation, the book would make an excellent gift for anyone interested in Texas history or forestry history in general.

Century of Forestry

Another new book that would be a natural fit for home display is Primeval Forests of Finland: Cultural History, Ecology and Conservation, by Petri Keto-Tokoi and Timo Kuuluvainen. This book celebrates the cultural and ecological importance of Finland’s natural boreal forests. Keto-Tokoi and Kuuluvainen open with a discussion of how we define a “natural” forest and how such forests cannot be viewed in absolute terms: environmental factors mean that forests have different and changing states of naturalness. The authors then delve into the role of the forest in Finland’s art and folklore and how it has served for centuries as a national symbol. In fights over forest conservation in Finland throughout the twentieth century, nature conservationists have proven to be effective even in periods of economic growth and development. The natural forests are treasured and widely considered too valuable to sacrifice for short-term economic gain. Nevertheless, conservationists and forest industry tussled over the protection of the North Lapland wilderness areas in the latter part of the twentieth century. The book’s visuals—the large, full-color photos, maps, and illustrations—and beautiful and engaging.

Primeval Forests of Finland

Looking beyond the world of books brings us to several other gifts for those with an interest in forests and forestry.

Artwork always makes a great gift, and you can’t go wrong with this John Muir Trail Print which would improve the look of any wall. The same image is also available on a t-shirt.

For the distinguished gentleman on your list who loves wood products we suggest the following accessories. The Wood Tie and the Etched Walnut Wooden Bow Tie are both unique wooden fashion items not just for lumberjacks.

wooden bow tie

 

For the beverage fan on your list we give you two unique ways to handle your beer and wine.

The Lumberjack Beer Bottle Opener is an opener in the shape of an axe, with a real wood handle and a notch cut into the back for opening brew caps in the home or in the woods. lumber Jack

For the wine drinker we offer the Lumberjack Bottle Stopper to seal your bottles with a tree stump topper complete with a small ax cutting into it.

LumberjackStopper

Party hosts may also like this Mango Wood Platter with Bark, providing a unique way to present appetizers or other items.

mango wood platter

You can further outfit your home with Tree Branch Candle Holders. These 3-tiered tree branch candle holders accent the glow of a candle to create the perfect rustic focal point for any table, mantle or counter top.

For the lumberjack on your list with an unruly mane or beard, we suggest the Saw Comb. This attractive mini saw with a cherry wood grip can cut through even the worst of tangled hair.

Saw Comb

Enjoy and happy holidays!

 

 

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This holiday season we turn to the U.S. Forest Service History Collection for a little fun artwork. The “Service Bulletin” was the newsletter, initially issued weekly and then later monthly, published by the Washington Office (WO) to keep employees abreast of the latest information from DC and around the nation. They typically were 6 or 8 pages in length, and included submitted news pieces, announcements, and even reminiscences from retiring employees. They are a treasure trove of insight and information about the agency during the period from 1920 to 1942. The Service Bulletin was different from the Information Bulletin, also issued from the WO. That came out every few days and typically was the front-and-back of one page. Items were just a couple of sentences in length, sometimes delivered in list form. We have a run of those from its launch in 1936 through 1956, with a break between 1951 and 1954.

Eleven months out of the year, the WO was all business—only the December issue of the Service Bulletin had cover art, and naturally its theme was tied to the holiday season. The artists who designed the December covers vary, as does the featured subject matter. Some are lighthearted, like the one from 1940 by Rudy Wendelin, whose holiday art we’ve featured before. Others reflect the accomplishments of the past year, such as the one from 1932, when the Copeland Report was issued. We’ve opted to share just a sampler of the covers. And instead of interpreting them for you, we’ll instead let these act as a holiday history exam. Do you know what happened and why it was deemed important enough to document in the artwork? We’ve given you the link to find the answer to “What was the Copeland Report?” Answer correctly to avoid getting a lump of coal in your stocking!

1922 Forest Service Bulletin

Service Bulletin – 1922 (William Greeley was chief for this one and the next one)

1926 Service Bulletin

Service Bulletin – 1926

1932 Forest Service Bulletin

Service Bulletin – 1932 (Robert Stuart was chief)

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Everyone knows Smokey Bear, Woodsy Owl, and maybe even Ranger Rick Raccoon, but there are many other forest and forestry-related fictional characters that long ago fell by the wayside. Peeling Back the Bark‘s series on “Forgotten Characters from Forest History” continues with Part 6, in which we examine Ev’rett (the Friendly Evergreen).

In the 1950s, a new front opened in the War on Christmas. The first front had opened with a presidential ban on Christmas trees in the White House in 1902 out of concern for natural resources. A half-century later, Christmas trees made of aluminum or plastic had become so commonplace that that the plot of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” which first aired on television in 1965, revolves around this idea of artificial trees having replaced natural trees. Artificial trees were so commonplace that when Charlie Brown and Linus see a single wooden tree alone on the tree lot full of artificial ones, Linus asks Charlie Brown, “Gee, do they even still make wooden Christmas trees?” To CB, the dominance and pervasiveness of artificial trees represented how disconnected Americans had become from the spiritual and religious roots of Christmas. Having a natural tree helps him and his friends reconnect to the true meaning of Christmas, as expressed in a heart-tugging soliloquy by Linus.

NCTGA logoAs the 1960s drew to a close, the artificial tree industry was cutting deeply into the sale of natural trees and growers were in a panic. The National Christmas Tree Growers’ Association (NCTGA) decided to do something about it. Like a plot from an old Hollywood musical, they respond to this attack on tradition with—a song! One can picture Mickey Rooney as the son of a Christmas tree farmer who’s on the brink of bankruptcy during the Great Depression. Having overheard the mean banker (maybe Lionel Barrymore as Mr. Potter from “It’s a Wonderful Life”?) tell Mickey’s father that unless he can pay the mortgage, he’ll lose the farm. Desperate and inconsolable, Mickey turns for comfort to his gal played by Judy Garland, who then sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to cheer him. Afterward, they talk and hit on the idea of writing a song and then Mickey says, “Hey kids! Let’s put on a show!” The show (and the movie) end with the unveiling of a new song Mickey wrote celebrating natural Christmas trees, “Ev’rett the Friendly Evergreen.” It’s a smash sensation, and the show saves the farm! Roll credits!

Evrett

Take a listen and tell me that this doesn’t save the farm.

Ev’rett the Friendly Evergreen
1969 (2min 09sec): 

Well, that’s how it would have played out in the 1930s film version. The contemporary version would be closer to the truth—a little darker and with an ambiguous ending. (more…)

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Tonight, December 1st, President Barack Obama and his family will officially light the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse south of the White House. The tree lighting ceremony dates back to 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge personally lit what was then called the National Community Christmas Tree. This first national tree was presented to Coolidge by Middlebury College President Dr. Paul D. Moody. The tree was cut from the Middlebury College forest preserve in the President’s home state of Vermont and sent via a special train car to Washington, D.C. The tree was erected on the Ellipse south of the White House grounds, where a crowd of 3,000 watched President Coolidge preside over the lighting on Christmas Eve, 1923. Since that time a variety of trees, both living and cut, originating from different states have served as the National Christmas Tree. The location of the tree has also changed over the years, moving from the Ellipse to Sherman Plaza, then Lafayette Park, the White House lawn, and back to its current spot on the Ellipse.

1923 National Christmas Tree

The original 1923 National Community Christmas Tree.

The FHS Archives features a collection documenting the first three decades of the lighting ceremony. The National Community Christmas Tree Records includes programs, photographs, correspondence, guest lists, invitations, news clippings, and more related to the planning of the event between 1923 and 1954. In honor of tonight’s tree lighting ceremony, below are a sampling of the historical items found in this great collection.
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Here at PBBWHQ (Peeling Back the Bark World Headquarters), we’re perfectly giddy with the holiday spirit. The lights are up, the tree is lit, and Alvin J. Huss is watching over us.

Alvin reports to Santa on which FHS staffers have been naughty and which have been nice.

We’re so caught up in the season that we thought we’d share our version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with you. (Some may think we’re inflicting it on you. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder–and this version is a beaut!) So click on the slide show and sing along. In the interest of time and sanity, we’ve cut straight to the twelfth day and started the countdown there. If you want to know more about the individual images, we’ve included the photo ID number for those images that have them in each caption. You can then look them up in our Image Database by jotting down the number, going to the database, and plugging the number into the Quick Search field.

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS from all of us at the Forest History Society!

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In honor of the season, Peeling Back the Bark would like to feature a small selection of just a few of the holiday cards and greetings found in various Forest History Society archival collections.  The following selected materials represent just a fraction of the many collections available in the FHS Archives.  Below each image can be found some brief caption information and the collection name.  Click on any of the images to view a larger version.  Happy holidays!

Smokey card

Smokey Bear Christmas card, from Rudolph Wendelin Papers.

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