Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Roosevelt's Tree Army


In my introductory course on environmental geography, I use a text co-authored by my grad-school mentor. One of my favorite parts of Exploitation, Conservation, Preservation is an early chapter that describes pivotal changes in how the United States has related to the environment. Under the heading "Conservation for Economic Recovery," the text describes how the Great Depression created an opening for Franklin Delano Roosevelt to expand federal involvement in the protection of natural resources.

The history web site Mass Moments commemorates FDR's efforts on this date, the anniversary of the first deployment of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) men in Massachusetts. (They were all men, and despite some rhetorical commitments to the contrary, they were mostly white.) The first group arrived at Fort Devins on this date in 1933. The April 13 article describes the political and economic context of the deployment, along with a lot of operational details I had not known. The scope of FDR's "stimulus package" continues to stand out for both its economic and ecologic effects.

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