A millionaire's dream. A genius's vision. A forester's plan.

Their legacy is still growing.



To learn more about Carl Schenck and the Biltmore Forest School, explore the resources below.

Educational Materials for North Carolina Social Studies Classes

The Forest History Society has created these educational materials for North Carolina 8th Grade Social Studies classes. The film worksheets are for students to fill out while watching the films. The Discussion questions can be used either to facilitate discussion with students or for the basis of written assignments.  We encourage teachers to review the questions in advance. They are in Word files so you can modify them to suit your needs. The answers provided are provided to give teachers a starting point for discussion. This work was made possible through funding from the U.S. Forest Service.

These documents are for America's First Forestthe longer version of the film. (Download all four documents as one document by clicking HERE)

    Film worksheet for NC 8th Grade Social Studies - America's First Forest edition [WORD]

    Film worksheet answers for NC 8th Grade Social Studies - America's First Forest edition [WORD]

    Discussion question sheet for NC 8th Grade Social Studies - America's First Forest edition [WORD]

    Discussion question sheet answers for NC 8th Grade Social Studies - America's First Forest edition [WORD]

These documents are for First in Forestrythe SHORTER version of the film. (Download all four documents as one document by clicking HERE)

    Film worksheet for NC 8th Grade Social Studies - First in Forestry edition [WORD]

    Film worksheet answers for NC 8th Grade Social Studies - First in Forestry edition [WORD]

    Discussion question sheet for NC 8th Grade Social Studies - First in Forestry edition [WORD]

    Discussion question sheet answers for NC 8th Grade Social Studies - First in Forestry [WORD]


Carl Alwin Schenck, Cradle of Forestry in America: The Biltmore Forest School, 1898-1913 (Forest History Society, 1955, 2011)

Dr. Schenck's account of his life in forestry in the United States and the history of the Biltmore Forest School.

Douglas MacCleery, American Forests: A History of Resiliency and Recovery (Forest History Society, 2011)

Provides a general overview of the history of human interaction with America's forest, from Native American uses of the forest to today. 


James G. Lewis, The Forest Service and The Greatest Good: A Centennial History (Forest History Society, 2005)

This history of the federal land management agency includes information on the early days of the forest conservation movement and forestry education.  


Bill Alexander, The Biltmore Nursery: A Botanical Legacy (Natural History Press, 2007)

See the chapter "A Model Forest" to understand how the forestry work fit in with the overall vision for the Biltmore Estate.


Gifford Pinchot, Breaking New Ground (1947; Island Press, 1998)

The memoir of the Biltmore Estate's first forester and the founding chief of the U.S. Forest Service.


Char Miller, Gifford Pinchot and the Making of Modern Environmentalism (Island Press, 2001)

An award-winning biography of Gifford Pinchot that include information about Pinchot's time at Biltmore Estate.


Marci Spencer, Pisgah National Forest: A History (The History Press, 2014)

The Pisgah National Forest exists in large part because of the work and vision of Vanderbilt, Olmsted, Pinchot, and Schenck. This book's opening chapters capture that history.


Austin Cary, "An Appreciation of Dr. Schenck," Forestry Quarterly, Vol. 12 (Dec. 1914): 562-66.


Bowling Yates, "On the Trail of Dr. Schenck," American Forests (December 1973), 28-31, 60-61.  


Edward Stuart, Jr., "German Forestry during the American Occupation: Dr. Schenck's Pivotal Role," Journal of Forest History (Oct. 1985): 169-74.


Elwood R. Maunder, "Dr. Carl Alwin Schenck: German Pioneer in the Field of American Forestry," Paper Maker (September 1954): 17-30.


Harley Jolley, "Biltmore Forest Fair, 1908," Forest History, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Apr. 1970): 6-17.


James G. Lewis, "The Pinchot Family and the Battle to Establish American Forestry," Pennsylvania History Vol. 66, No. 2 (Spring 1999): 143-65. 

From Our Blog


"On this date in 1895, Carl Schenck arrived from Germany to the United States to replace Gifford Pinchot as forester at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina..."



"On November 26, 1908, Dr. Carl Schenck, resident forester at George W. Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate and founder of the Biltmore Forest School, opened a three-day forestry fair on the Biltmore grounds.  At a time when forestry work in America was still very much in its infancy..."



"On this day in 1964, foresters, government officials, and others gathered near Asheville, North Carolina, at the site of the historic Biltmore Forest School..."



Historian James Lewis shares his thoughts about visiting the memorial grove named for Carl Schenck in northern California.


Additional Resources

Biltmore Forest School Images, ca. 1890s - ca. 1988

Collection of 22 black-and-white and color images of the Biltmore Forest School, the first forestry school in the United States (1898-1913), and of the Cradle of Forestry in America historic site, which commemorates the history of the Biltmore Forest School and the origins of forest conservation in North Carolina.


Jonathan Keith Esser Collection, 1899­-1920

Letters written by and photographs taken or collected by Jonathan Keith Esser (1893-1963), a Pennsylvania forester and coal industry worker who graduated from the Biltmore Forest School in 1911. The materials primarily document Esser’s training while a forestry student, but also e.g. his work during 1912 while a member of a U.S. Forest Service reconnaissance team in the southern Appalachian Mountains region.


Early Forestry Education in North Carolina Oral History Interview Collection, 1959

Interviews conducted in 1959 with four foresters—Inman Fowler "Cap" Eldredge, Clarence F. Korstian, Reuben B. Robertson, and George H. Wirt—who reminisce about their experiences at the Biltmore Forest School and their careers.


Images from "The Dawn of Private Forestry in America, Recollections of a Forester Covering the Years 1895 to 1914," a Manuscript by Carl Alwin Schenck, 1954

Includes 186 black-and-white photographic images dating from the 1890s to the 1910s that supplemented the written memoirs of Carl Alwin Schenck (1868-1955), who managed the Biltmore Estate woodlands and founded the forest school there.


Forestry Lectures of Carl Alwin Schenck, 1904-1909

Dr. Carl Alwin Schenck's lectures on the topics of forest policy and forest protection, published in 1904 and 1909. Schenck gave these lectures to students attending the Biltmore Forest School, and decided to publish them because few relevant forestry education textbooks existed in the United States at that time.


The Biltmore Forestry Fair Collection, 1908-1909

Collection of seven articles published in American Lumberman magazine from September 1908 to January 1909 reporting on the Forest Festival held November 26-29, 1908, at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. The event spotlighted scientific forestry techniques for guests including industry representatives, foresters, and others.


Biltmore Forest School Alumni Reunion, 1950

A single item: Flowers for the Living, a 31-page booklet published by The Biltmore Reunion Committee to commemorate a reunion of alumni of the Biltmore Forest School held from May 28-31, 1950, at the George Vanderbilt Hotel in Asheville, North Carolina. Former teachers and students attended the reunion, where they reminisced about their experiences at the school and about the school's founder and director, Dr. Carl Alwin Schenck.


The Alfred Cunningham Papers, 1910, 1931-1937, n.d.

Papers generated and collected by Alfred "Charlie" Cunningham, an American printer who attended the Biltmore Forest School in 1910. Includes e.g., correspondence from Cunningham to his sister while he was on a field trip to Europe in 1910 and 1930s letters from former Biltmore Forest School director Carl Alwin Schenck.

A partial map of the Biltmore Estate, showing Biltmore Forest and Pisgah Forest.

From the book The Biltmore Story.

© 2015 by The Forest History Society 

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