Talking Head

From an unnamed commune in NC in the 1980s to Penn State University’s 2019 Forest Landowner Conference, I’ve had a long and successful career boring many different groups with forest facts they need to know.
The North Fork of the Shenandoah River a few miles west of New Market.

A Sedimental Journey: How Historic Deforestation Degrades Waterways Today

 I was invited to give this presentation by my watershed group, Friends of the North Fork Shenandoah River.  In “A Sedimental Journey: How Historic Deforestation Degrades Waterways Today,” I use a forensics approach to find clues to history – and its long-term consequences – in our forests and streams today.  The word “Legacy” usually means something good received from the past, or created for the future.  “Legacy sediments” literally muddy this concept and are revolutionizing our understanding of truly […]

Featured: O.G. oak tree

Forests of the Southern Appalachians: Repairing the Past, Defending the Future

The theme for the 2020 annual conference of the Appalachian Studies Association was “Appalachian Understories.” Conference announcements cited, somewhat vaguely, the “Mother Forest.”  This was nice to see because the globally unique Southern Appalachian forests don’t receive much recognition, especially the world-class national forest commons.  Yet these nearly contiguous six million acres of Appalachian national forests, regrowing after historically horrific logging, are the region’s best hope against climate change.  My talk plays with both “Understories” and “Mother Forest” to describe how our forests […]

Featured: Marcia Bonta - Pennsylvania forestland owners

Forests Are Our Future

Opening Keynote Speech at Penn State University’s Forest Landowner Conference, March, 2019.   

The invitation to open this large and prestigious 2-day conference was dangerously flattering.  Not only did it give me the opportunity to visit my revered PA friend and writer, Marcia Bonta, and her 640 glorious acres of new old-growth.  It also emboldened me to point out to the audience how much Penn’s Woods have changed from the original vision in 1681.   

Faced with 600 fellow private forestland […]

Other Presentations

Every presentation is aimed at a different audience, but the theme is the same: how our forests can save us if we can save them:

  • Spotswood Garden Club, Bridgewater, VA. It was on Valentine’s Day, 2020, so i featured the recent trend of women around the world marrying trees to save them.
  • VA Master Naturalists, Sept. 2019 Annual Rally, Massanetta Springs Conference Center, Virginia, a stately and historic venue with just enough mold spores to catch in my throat, but still lovely to be there.
  • JMU Faculty Emeriti, most of whom I knew from my 31 years at JMU, Feb., 2019
  • Climate Action Alliance for the Valley, “Our Forests ARE our Future,” Nov., 2018.
  • Eastern Mennonite University Biology Class, March, 2018.
  • Sustainable Floyd, “Save the Planet, Get Rich … through forest conservation?” Nov., 2017.
  • Afton Chapter, VA Master Naturalists, “The Great and Seriously Uncommon Appalachian Forest Commons.” July, 2017.
  • Appalachian Studies Assn., “The Great Appalachian Carbon Commons,” March, 2017.
  • Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards, “An Appalachian Journey from wilderness to Wilderness.” Oct., 2015.
  • Readers Read Series, Eastern Mennonite University, Nov. 2014
  • VA Sierra Club, “Developing a Southern Appalachian WWIMBY Response: Welcoming Wilderness in my Backyard.” Sept., 2014.
  • "Developing a WWIMBY movement: Welcoming Wilderness in My Back Yard". 50th Wilderness Act Anniversary Conference, Albuquerque, NM, Oct. 2014
  • Eastern Mennonite University Biology Class, “An Appalachian Journey: from wilderness to Wilderness.” Jan., 2014
  • VA Environmental Educators Conference, Oct. 2013
  • Colonial Garden Club, Harrisonburg, Dec. 2012
  • Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, July, 2012
  • Virginia Forum (Historical Analysis), Harrisonburg, March, 2012
  • Virginia Festival of the Book, 2012
  • A Celebration of Wilderness, Blacksburg and Harrisonburg, 2012 (sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service)
  • Maryland Native Plant Society Annual Conference, 2012 (one of three keynote speakers)
  • Pinchot Institute for Conservation
  • Hollins University Guest Lectures
  • Washington & Lee University Luncheon Seminars
  • Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources Seminar Seriesv
  • Radford University Guest Lectures
  • Eastern Shore (MD) “Journeys Home” Lecture Series
  • Highlands (NC) Biological Research Station, Zahner Lecture Series
  • Shenandoah National Park Nature Writing Workshop
  • Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project
  • Mt. Rogers Naturalist Rally (when I emailed my husband about this upcoming talk, I made a type and he thought it was Mr. Roger’s neighborhood).
  • Wildlands Conference
  • Sierra Club Appalachian Task Force
  • Appalachian Restoration Campaign
  • Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition
  • Nature Conservancy, Virginia Chapter
  • Western North Carolina Alliance
  • Georgia Forest Watch
  • Potomac Valley Audubon Society
  • Woodland Owners of the Southern Alleghenies
  • Montebello Clean Mountain Coalition
  • 6th Mountain Lion Workshop
  • The Bergton Ruritan Club (one of the attendees walked out when I mentioned erosion from logging).
  • An unnamed commune in western NC (they may have named themselves by now but I’ve lost touch and wouldn’t know how to contact them).


Appalachia: A History of Mountains and People

Talking Head in Four-part PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) TV series by Jamie Ross and Ross Spears. Narrated by Academy Award Winner, Sissy Spacek. Premiered April 9, 2009, on PBS.

Available from

Garden Story with Rebecca Frischkorn

Talking Head in Four-episode DVD. Published by Liseron Limited Partnership, 2005.

Host Rebecca Frischkorn visits gardens and talks with volunteers, teachers, and students who recount their love of these gardens and the many things they have learned from them.

Available from