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The First North American Forestry School


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Carl Alwen Schenck - Founder of the First American School of Forestry
Carl Alwen Schenck

Carl Alwen Schenck - 1910 Photo

Forest History Society
Dr. Carl Alwen Schenck founded the first American school of forestry and brought his thorough training in scientific silviculture to the United States. Schenck was German born and retained his German citizenship until his death in 1955 at the age of 87.

American forester Gifford Pinchot and world renowned European forester Sir Dietrich Brandis selected Schenck to fill the role of chief forester for George Vanderbilt and his Biltmore Estate property near Asheville, North Carolina (Pinchot was the first forester hired by Vanderbuilt). That appointment led to the founding of the first forestry school in North America and later to be called the "Cradle of Forestry".

In 1895, Carl Schenck accepted the Pinchot/Brandis/Vanderbilt offer to come to North Carolina and succeed Gifford Pinchot as manager of the Biltmore Estate forest properties. For more than a decade, Dr. Schenck focused all of his forestry skills on managing and improving Vanderbilt's 120,000 acre western North Carolina forest. We know that woodland today as Pisgah National Forest. He also founded a school for professional foresters.

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