2017 German Campus weeks: Green Germany at CofC

Green Germany 2017 CofC Campus Weeks! Sponsored by the German Embassy in Washington D.C., the First Year Experience Program, the CofC Graduate Program in Environmental Studies and the Environmental and Sustainaility Studies Minor

September 24th, 4pm: German Election Party with the CofC German Club in Arnold Hall, 96 Wentworth Street

Join the German Club to learn the results of the German federal elections! Dr. Malte Pehl (International Studies) will give a lecture on the German parties (including the Green party!) and political system at 4, followed by pizza and election viewing with the German club!

October 24th, 4pm: “50 shades of green: environmental policy in Germany” Dr. Werner Krauß, artec Sustainability Research Center, University of Bremen (artec Forschungszentrum Nachhaltigkeit) in Addleston Library, room 220

November 10th, 3:30pm, Addlestone 220 "The Greatest Good? German Forestry and Sustainability at the Biltmore Estate, 1898-1909” Dr. Thomas Lekan, Associate Professor of History and Environment and Sustainability Program, University of South Carolina” 

German forestry institutes pioneered the modern concept of sustainability, or Nachhaltigkeit, during the eighteenth century by developing techniques to plant and harvest a renewable resource: trees.  These techniques of “scientific forestry” started with fast-growing but often ecologically impoverished conifer plantations but soon evolved to include proto-ecological ideas of imitating diverse, natural forests (known as Dauerwald) by included mixes of different species and ages of trees with staggered cutting cycles.  German-trained foresters then spread these ideas throughout the world, including the United States, which was in the 1890s just facing the “closing of the frontier” and the need to steward its dwindling forest resources over the long haul. 

This talk examines one such experiment in German-American knowledge transfer: the Biltmore Forest School near Brevard, NC.  It was here that Carl A. Schenck, a Hessian-trained German forester, founded a school of “practical forestry” on the famous estate of George Vanderbilt, which is now an exhibit known as the Cradle of Forestry within Pisgah National Forest. I argue that despite Schenck’s successes in re-naturing the lands near Biltmore, the experiment was never profitable, reflecting a fundamental contradiction in German ideas about the forest that he transferred over to America: the desire for utilitarian order and marketability and the yearning for wildness apart from industrial society.  Schenck hoped to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number—but did that number include the non-human elements of a forest?  And when we talk about sustainability today, are we still too wedded to a notion of “resource management” that precludes the serendipitous and wondrous wild? 

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