ELDERSBURG, Md. — To celebrate Earth Week 2020, Maryland Conservation Filmmaker Cheryle Franceschi is partnering with The Maryland State Archives to jointly share 5 excerpts from the 5th Anniversary Edition of “Mr. Besley’s Forest: A documentary about Maryland’s first State Forester” (IMBd 2015). The newly released trailer of “Mr. Besley’s Forest” can be found at https://vimeo.com/361203548.
Fred W. Besley was the third state forester in the nation and the first in Maryland. He was a protege of Gifford Pinchot, the first chief U.S. Forest and President Theodore Roosevelt’s advisor on conservation matters. Besley was the first in the nation to establish eligibility rules for crowning champion big trees. He devised the formula of circumference in inches + height in feet + 1/4 of the average crown spread (the spread is the average of two measurements at right angles to each other) = total points. In 1925, Maryland’s first official Big Tree winner; the Wye Oak of Talbot County won based on his formula used to earn points leading to its championship run that repeated in 1937 and 1940.
Throughout the week, the five excerpts of the documentary will be shared on MSA’s https://www.facebook.com/Maryland-State-Archives-271742632879921/
This is being done to help teachers, students, and parents as they continue to transition from the classrooms to the Cloud. Three excerpts have STEM & Humanities curriculum and the other two are written to Next Generation Science Standards.
Maria Day, Director, Special Collections and Conservation at Maryland State Archives says: “We are very happy to help Ms. Franceschi tell the story of Mr. Besley’s Forest. There is no doubt that Fred Besley is a significant person in our State’s history. Without him, the wonderful state parks and forests that Marylanders have grown up enjoying might not be here, or they might be much smaller. His early conservation efforts changed our environment, by focusing on what people can do to help preserve our landscape for generations. In fact, the Maryland State Archives holds an amazing collection of lantern slides that Besley would shine up on screens throughout our state to teach people about conservation.”
After making and distributing the film, Franceschi later served on the Carroll County Forestry Board and is Chairwoman Emerita. Her other project, “Conservation Kids” A Green STEM Documentary is streaming on PBS.org. The MSA partnership allows for connecting to a larger community for at-home learning opportunities. Bring together people during a time when Arbor Day will be celebrated digitally across the country and planet.
Anne Hairston-Strang, Ph.D, Associate Director of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources Forest Service is part of the 2020 release. Later she went on to say, “as we celebrate 50 years of Earth Day, we also honor over 100 years of forestry in Maryland and the contributions of Fred Besley, Maryland’s first State Forester, including protecting roadside trees and creating a tree nursery for conservation. Plant a tree to honor the legacy and cast your vote of confidence in a cooler, greener future for our communities.”
About the Por Eco Productions, One Idea/Dos Languages, LLC
Por Eco Productions communicates for conservation with videos, articles,
and short form documentaries which include educational initiatives tied to STEM,
Humanities and Next Generation Science Standards. To find out more about,
visit www.porecoproductions.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mrbesleysforest.documentary/
Connect on the web or create an community conversation on Facebook/Twitter by using [the hashtag] #MrBesleysForestAtHome
–Cheryle Franceschi, Por Eco Productions