Magazine article American Forests

Growing a Restoration Economy: With a New Year Bringing a New Administration to Washington, We Are Finding New Opportunities to Benefit the Environment and the Economy

Magazine article American Forests

Growing a Restoration Economy: With a New Year Bringing a New Administration to Washington, We Are Finding New Opportunities to Benefit the Environment and the Economy

Article excerpt

There's a pen in my office at AMERICAN FORESTS that's different from all the rest. First of all, it's encased in glass and framed. And it's a very old pen - the kind you have to dip in ink each time you use it. But the writing beside this pen tells why it is truly unique: "On March 31, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt used this pen to sign the bill creating the Civilian Conservation Corps" (the CCC). It goes on to note, "Men were at work within two weeks, and by the first of July nearly three hundred thousand young men had enrolled and were on their way to C.C.C. Camps throughout the country."

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Why is it in my office? In 1932, when FDR was governor, the New York Conservation Department gave employment to 10,000 men who, among other things, planted 22 million trees. AMERICAN FORESTS urged Roosevelt to expand this reforestation work nationally, and when FDR accepted the nomination at the Democratic convention in Chicago on July 2, 1932, he "cited reforestation as the kind of public work he favored," according to AMERICAN FORESTS' historian Henry Clepper in Crusade for Conservation (1975). Roosevelt felt that through tree planting "employment could be given to a million men."

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So closely was AMERICAN FORESTS associated with the CCC that many, in fact, believed that Roosevelt simply adopted AMERICAN FORESTS' proposal for a CCC, and Congress, in authorizing the Emergency Conservation Work Act, had implemented it. It is true that no organization did more to urge this bill into passage than AMERICAN FORESTS.

The CCC was active from 1933 to 1942, and gave employment to 3 million men at a cost of $2.5 billion. Many of these men, who earned $30 a month, went on to study forestry, fisheries, and wildlife management and become leaders in these conservation arenas. …

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