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Forest Service, Culture, and Community

The Festival program, Forest Service, Culture, and Community, presented occupational traditions from the USDA Forest Service, an organization celebrating its centennial in 2005, as well as other forest dependent traditions from the cultural communities it serves. Approximately a hundred participants on the National Mall shared their skills, experiences, and traditions with members of the public; they included tree pathologists, wildlife biologists, landscape architects, historic horticulturalists, botanists, bird banders, archaeologists, environmental engineers, firefighters, smokejumpers, recreation specialists, backcountry rangers, woodcarvers, basket makers, quilters, instrument makers, musicians, poets, storytellers, and camp cooks.

As the Forest Service began its second century, it already had a long tradition of caring for the land, serving the public, and meeting the challenges of conservation. For instance, the Forest Service has an ongoing mission to educate teachers and children, connecting people to the land through conservation education. Such education increases public awareness and understanding of the interrelationships in natural systems. Natural resource professionals teach in classrooms or lead field trips. Similarly, Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl have become national symbols in fire-prevention and conservation campaigns.

As the Festival program vividly demonstrated, the men and women who work in our forests and rangelands have very special connections to the land and its natural resources. They understand the science, the history, the technology, the art, and the traditions of forest service, culture, and community. They also recognize the values inherent in the work they do. Following the example set by Forest Service founder Gifford Pinchot a hundred years before, these men and women are still seeking to provide "the greatest good of the greatest number in the long run."

Jim Deutsch was Program Curator; Dorey Butter was Program Coordinator, and Tasha Coleman was Research Coordinator. At the USDA Forest Service, the Coordination Team included Linda Feldman, New Century of Service Program Manager; Christine Murray, Festival Program Manager; and Karen Fiore, Research and Oral Histories, Festival Co-Coordinator.

The program was made possible through a partnership with the USDA Forest Service and was produced in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts. Major support came from the National Forest Foundation, Honda, and Whole Foods Market, with additional contributions from IBM and The American Chestnut Foundation.

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