MADISON — The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison will host a virtual premiere of the national TV program, America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell, featuring the acclaimed host’s travels to Wisconsin in the series’ latest episodes.
This online gathering, scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 21, from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., will bring together thought leaders to engage in conversation on the critical importance and value of well-managed public and private forest lands in Wisconsin.
“Wisconsin’s 17 million forested acres are a part of a rich history in our great state,” Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole said. “Our forests are part of our culture and economy and without them, Wisconsin would not be what it is today. The continued sustainable management of our forests here and nationwide provides solutions for the future.”
As host of the television series, Leavell serves as the on-camera guide, traveling across the country to interview people passionate about the gifts received from our woods and exploring creative solutions to complex problems impacting this important natural resource.
Leavell is best known as the keyboardist and musical director for The Rolling Stones, but he is also an educated and enthusiastic forestry advocate, conservationist and woodland owner.
“The search for solutions to the problems of sustainable growth, climate change and energy conservation is increasingly inspiring thought leaders to look at one of America’s finest resources – our forests,” Leavell said. “Whether for building or for recreation, our forests are good for the economy and for the spirit.”
Leavell explores the forests of Wisconsin, fittingly, on a Harley Davidson, in this two-part special. Part one finds Leavell exploring Wisconsin’s Northwoods. Viewers will learn about managing forests for ruffed grouse, the sustainable forestry practices on the Menominee Tribal forests and much more.
In part two, Leavell heads to Milwaukee and Madison to experience the urban wood movement, go behind the scenes at the USDA Forest Products Laboratory and explore the Baraboo Hills’ biodiversity. Leavell wraps up his Wisconsin adventures at a Log-A-Load for Kids event in the Suamico School Forest, where hundreds of elementary students from local schools got to try their hands at being foresters for the day.
During the Oct. 21 virtual premiere event, Leavell will be joined by Heather Berklund, DNR chief state forester; Tony Ferguson, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service director of the forest products laboratory; Buddy Huffaker, Aldo Leopold Foundation executive director; Adena Rissman, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, and Henry Schienebeck, Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association executive director. The panel will be moderated by James Edward Mills, community partnership liaison at the UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.
Registration for the virtual premiere and screening of the episodes is available online at go.wisc.edu/
“A wide range of partners support the sustainable management of Wisconsin’s 17 million acres of forests,” Berklund said. “These two episodes of the show highlight several shining examples of this collaborative work to ensure that Wisconsin forests provide ecological, social, cultural and economic benefits for today’s citizens as well as for future generations.”
The Wisconsin episodes were made possible with support from the DNR, USDA Forest Service, Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association, Wisconsin Sustainable Forestry Institute, Ponsse North America, John Deere (McCormick), Red Wing Shoes, The Nature Conservancy, Aldo Leopold Foundation, Ruffed Grouse Society, National Forest Foundation, Menominee Tribal Enterprises, Wisconsin Urban Wood, University of Wisconsin and Harley Davidson.
About the Series
America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell captures the breadth of our nation’s woodlands – both public and private. It features stories that demonstrate how vital forest habitats are to the well-being and economic health of communities across the country and presents individuals who embody this passion for the woods. Previous episodes featuring Oregon, Colorado, South Carolina and California are available on PBS stations nationwide and online here.
Leavell’s musical career includes work with The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, The Allman Brothers Band, John Mayer and a host of others. He is acclaimed as a conservationist, environmentalist, author and tree farmer.
After studying forestry by correspondence and doing much of his homework while riding a tour bus with the Fabulous Thunderbirds in the mid-’80s, Leavell and his wife turned her family’s property near Macon, Ga., into what has become a textbook and award-winning tree farm. He is also the co-founder of The Mother Nature Network (MNN) – the world’s leading environmental website. MNN recently merged with its sister-site, Treehugger.
— Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
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