Germany

I grew up in Maryland but German was my first language. It’s rusty as a tetanus nail but Germans are always linguistically generous as I periodically travel across the country to interview foresters and forestland owners about their practices and philosophies. Most interesting has been what I learned in former East Germany, not only about their way of life but about ours as well. In addition to the stories listed here I’ve written about travel, recycling, cranes, and other topics.

2020
Featured Image: A lone wolf resting in forest greenery

The Grimm Brothers’ Worst Nightmare: Wolves Thriving in Germany

“The Grimm Brothers’ Worst Nightmare: Wolves Thriving in Germany” was published in Rewilding Earth, March 2020. Inexplicably, this story gained me an invitation to join the Rewilding Leadership Council, which put me way out of my league. “It was Grandparents Day last August at the kindergarten in Cumlosen, a village in former East Germany. There were outdoor games, face painting, singing, and a small carousel. Then the teachers did a skit: the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs. The wolf […]
2014
Feature: Chris in a German municipal forest on the SAF Tour, wearing the traditional German Forester’s Tracht (uniform) she inherited from her East German forester friend Christine Neise.

Life, Love, and Forestry: Travels in Germany as a Tribute to Carl Alwin Schenk

This article was commissioned by the Society of American Foresters and published in the SAF’s The Forestry Source.  “‘It’s the trip of a lifetime!’ everyone said during the SAF-sponsored German Study Tour in August and the two-week excursion was barely half-over. The group had seen Munich and the forests of Bavaria. But the heart of the trip was a remembrance of Dr. Carl Alwin Schenck (CAS), the legendary forester who left his Hessen homeland and opened the first school of […]
2014
Featured: Abandoned Cold War era guard tower in Germany

In the Fatherland of Forestry: Time Travels through the German Wild

Original essay written in 2014 describing changes in former East Germany since I first visited there in 1991. “Don’t worry about the land mines,” said Holger Galonska, district forester for the former East German state of Mecklenburg. “They’ve all rusted away by now.” “He turned the Trabant from the old border road along the Elbe River into an open field that once was a death zone. My German was good enough to understand him, which did not reassure me. It […]
1997
Featured: Ivanacker Oaks - Germany

Sylvan Regards: Germany’s 1,000 Year-Old Oaks

This article was published in American Forests, Summer 1997. The stuff of legends, Germany’s 1,000 year-old oaks have thrived through centuries of foragers, wars, and political change. “In the former East Germany resides a stand of trees older even than the 1,000-year-old state in which they stand. Perhaps the oldest trees in Europe, rivaled only by Poland’s Bialowieza Forest, Mecklenburg­ Western Pomerania’s dozen or so Ivenack Oaks, as they are known, are both an awe-­inspiring state treasure and a historical record […]
1995
Featured: Dachau Palace in Munich Germany

What did you do in the War, Mommy? An Essay to Mark the 50th Anniversary of the End of World War II

This essay was published in Sojourner, 1995. An Essay to Mark the 50th Anniversary of the End of World War II. “From the upland gardens of Dachau Palace, the city of Munich, where I was born in 1948, unfurls like a scroll along a flood plain at the foot of the Alps. The script of its steep rooflines and Gothic trim is illegible at this distance, but the bold, vertical dash of the modem Olympia tower punctuates the sky. Below it, […]
1992
Featured: Castle Canstein - Central Germany

In the Fatherland of Forestry: Baron Alexander von Elverfeldt and Castle Canstein

This article was published in American Forests, 1992. The goals and dreams of the Baron of Castle Canstein reflect lessons learned over centuries of forest use and abuse. “With a huge key, the Baron unlocked the heavy wood door. The room in the tower was cool, dry, and dim, just as an archives should be. The thick stone walls had been built in the 17th century for that very purpose, and now hold metal shelves lined with acid-free storage boxes. In […]