Today, September 10, 2015, American Forests is celebrating 140 years of protecting and restoring forest ecosystems! While we are excited to commemorate this milestone as an organization, we know that the work we have done and will continue to do would not be possible without the support of so many of you. So, thank you!
As we celebrate our 140th anniversary, we have had the opportunity to reflect on the many events and accomplishments that have defined the history of our organization while also looking forward to the work to be done in the future. This timeline represents some of those important memories and future goals. Plus, you can read even more about many of these events by flipping through your Spring/Summer 2016 issue of American Forests magazine or reading the articles here.
Led by Dr. John Aston Warder, concerned citizens found the American Forestry Association (AFA), now known as American Forests, to “protect the existing forests of the country from unnecessary waste.”
AFA holds the first American Forestry Congress with a tree planting in Eden Park attended by 50,000 people.
Mrs. Ellen Call Long presents “Notes on Some of the Forest Features of Florida,” the paper that would lead to prescribed burning, to AFA.
After four years of work, AFA’s promotion of a bill that grants the president power to set aside forest reserves – a precursor to national forests – is successful. The same year, President Harrison proclaims nearly 13 million acres of forest reserves.
American Forests magazine debuts.
AFA succeeds in passing the Weeks Act, allowing for acquisition of forest reserves to protect watersheds and marking the first time in history that the federal government had purchased land specifically in recognition of its ecological services.
AFA launches memorial tree planting campaigns. First Lady Mrs. Warren G. Harding plants first memorial tree in Washington, D.C.
American Forests publishes the first of many articles by Aldo Leopold.
AFA gifts President and Mrs. Coolidge a living 35-foot Norway spruce planted near the White House on Sherman Plaza. It is the first living National Christmas Tree.
AFA creates the Dixie Crusaders to educate people about wildfire.
AFA conducts Congressional information campaigns that lead to the creation and protection of national parks in the Florida Everglades, Grand Tetons and Olympic mountains.
AFA works with President Franklin D. Roosevelt to create the Civilian Conservation Corps. We also launch Trail Riders of the Wilderness.
The national register of American Forests Champion Trees, then called American Big Trees Report, is established.
AFA is presented a Smokey Bear statuette in recognition of its years of forest fire advocacy and education work.
With the help of AFA, a new Task Force on a National Program for Wildfire Control is formed.
Along with five other organizations, AFA is invited to submit its position and policy on clear-cutting by the Council on Environmental Quality.
AFA launches its Urban Forests program and convenes the National Urban Forest Conference.
After years of advocacy by AFA, President Ronald Reagan signs the 1985 Farm Bill, including the new Conservation Reserve program, into law.
AFA announces Global ReLeaf, a program of tree planting for ecosystem restoration that addresses global challenges through local action.
After decades of advocacy and policy work, AFA wins the battle to convince Congress to pass a national urban forestry policy.
The first Global ReLeaf forest established in Au Sable, Mich. Christopher Reeve stars in Global ReLeaf PSAs for the Discovery Channel.
Global ReLeaf is awarded a President’s Citation for Innovation. First international Global ReLeaf project is established in Hungary.
AFA is renamed American Forests as a reflection of its conservation focus.
American Forests introduces CITYgreen software to analyze ecosystem and economic benefits of urban tree canopies and green spaces. Atlanta is the first satellite tree cover analysis.
Forest Policy Center gives national policy voice to community-based ecosystem management. American Forests premieres Silent Witnesses, narrated by actor James Whitmore, on public television.
Global ReLeaf plants its 10 millionth tree. American Forests partners with the White House to plant Millennium Groves in every state and territory.
The Global ReLeaf program undertakes Trees for Tigers to help save Siberian tigers from extinction.
American Forests conducts Freedom Trees, Patriot Trees and Memorial Trees to honor victims and heroes of 9/11.
After a year of advocacy by American Forests, the Federal Land Assistance, Management and Enhancement (FLAME) Act to establish a federal emergency fund for the suppression of sever wildfires is signed into law. American Forests joins Oprah’s Angel Network to plant trees around Habitat for Humanity for those displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
American Forests joins the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition (SUFC) advocating for legislation relating to urban forestry and green infrastructure. American Forests throws its support behind President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative.
American Forests throws its support behind Representative Matsui’s TREES Act that would support programs run by electric utilities to work with tree-planting nonprofits to use strategically planted shade trees in order to reduce residential energy demand.
American Forests launches the Endangered Western Forests initiative – focusing, in its first stage, on the dangers facing the high-elevation whitebark pine of the Greater Yellowstone Area.
American Forests launches Community ReLeaf, a program dedicated to the assessment, restoration and monitoring of urban forests based on research and conversations with urban forest managers.
American Forests creates the Big Tree Working Groups, convening a diverse array of experts to assist the program by addressing some of the tough questions inherent in crowning champion trees.
American Forests plants 50 millionth Global ReLeaf tree and undertakes 1,000th Global ReLeaf project.
American Forests launches the Urban Innovation Lab, an online community for urban forest practitioners.
American Forests expands Community ReLeaf to 20 cities.
American Forests celebrates its 200th Anniversary.