Two Forest History webinars on June 12 and June 15

James Lewis Announcement
Subject Fields
American History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies, Public History, Teaching and Learning, Women's & Gender History / Studies

The Forest History Society is hosting two webinars in June. Both are free but registration is required. Learn more about both at

Becoming “Treewise and Sequoical”: John Muir and the Giant Sequoia with Mike Wurtz

Date: Monday, June 12, 2023, from 1–2pm ET

Naturalist John Muir had just turned thirty when he first arrived in California in 1868. He came for many reasons, but certainly as a botanist, he wanted to see the Giant Sequoia of the Sierra Nevada. Throughout the rest of his life, Muir’s focus on the Big Tree changed and those changes matched his pursuits in life. At first, he reveled among the groves like the young man that broke away from the factories to “study the inventions of God.” Then he studied the trees scientifically as he had studied the glaciers of the Sierra. Lastly, he worked tirelessly to preserve them as he helped to establish national parks and tried to prevent the flooding of Hetch Hetchy Valley. Join Mike Wurtz of the University of the Pacific as he discusses how Giant Sequoias changed John Muir and Muir's understanding of the tree evolved in a presentation for the Forest History Society’s “Conversations in Forest History” webinar series on June 12, 2023.

Mike Wurtz is Head of the University of the Pacific Libraries’ Holt-Atherton Special Collections and Archives—home of the largest collection of John Muir material in the world. An archivist and historian by trade, he has a background in studying how geography and history intertwine and have an influence on one another. He is also the author of John Muir’s Grand Yosemite: Musings and Sketches, which geolocates 25 sites in Yosemite from which Muir made his drawings. 

Register at 

And also join us for:

“Lucette!” – Transforming Paul Bunyan from Indiscriminate Logger to Caring Forester through Word and Song with Marybeth Lorbiecki

Date: June 15, 2023, from 1-2 pm ET (1 hour)

The Paul Bunyan myth has been woven through the history of US and Canadian forests, supporting a pride in unlimited logging. Marybeth Lorbiecki, having written a biographies of Aldo Leopold (one for adults and one for children), decided that North America needed a fresh cultural story that integrates a Leopoldian and Native American–influenced ethic. So, in 2007, Lorbiecki created the picture book Paul Bunyan’s Sweetheart, which puts a new twist on the tale of Paul’s courtship of Lucette Diana Kensack. To win her hand, Paul must reform his ways.

Then Lorbiecki decided to transform this story into a new musical: “Lucette! A Lively Tale of Lumberjacks, Trees & Paul Bunyan.” She integrated a strong female lead and friends, immigrants, and wildlife to better reflect the Northwood’s real history. This dynamic new musical with an environmental message and catchy original tunes will debut next summer.

Join us for a discussion about the message, the musical, and how we talk about the land by using well-known figures both real and mythical  with Marybeth Lorbiecki in a presentation for the Forest History Society’s “Conversations in Forest History” webinar series on June 12, 2023.

Marybeth Lorbiecki is the author of the award-winning biography A Fierce Green Fire: Aldo Leopold’s Life and Legacy. She is an adjunct writing and literature professor at the University of Wisconsin–River Falls and author of adult nonfiction and children’s books ( 

Register for free at:

Both webinars have been approved for 1 hour of CFE credit from the Society of American Foresters. For more information and to register for this free Zoom event, visit the Forest History Society at

Contact Information

James Lewis

Contact Email