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A Message from the Dean

Since its founding, the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies has been at the forefront of bringing science to solutions. Our history is steeped in the kinds of pathbreaking scholarship, practice, and impactful engagement that advance the solution of complex natural resource and environmental challenges.

The School’s legacy of impact for a sustainable environment goes back to its founding. Yale University alumni Gifford Pinchot and Henry S. Graves (1889 and 1892, respectively) established the School in 1900 after receiving forestry degrees in Europe. Pinchot, who created the U.S. Forest Service and served as its first chief, advocated for the “conservation of natural resources” and, with his family, endowed the Yale Forest School.

Now in its second century, the School has broadened to meet new environmental challenges. This evolution was reflected in its new name, the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, adopted in 1972. The School’s research, teaching, and practice still address forest science and management, but also a broad range of issues related to the health of the planet and human-environment interactions, including the scientific understanding and long-term management of all ecosystems for sustainability and human benefit.

The School’s alumni—4,700 and counting—have become nationally and internationally prominent leaders in forestry, natural resources, and the environment. Among our first graduates was Aldo Leopold (1909), the renowned conservationist and writer who developed a land ethic that promotes the strong link between human health and the health of the land. Our alumni share a passion for the outdoors and for environmental sustainability, and they work in NGOs, government, business, and academia all over the world. The F&ES alumni network supports critical connections for our School, providing guidance for us to prepare students for current professional challenges, and mentorship for students.

Today our School aspires to lead the world toward a more sustainable future with cutting-edge research, teaching, and public engagement on society’s urgent environmental challenges. The heart of this mission remains our academic program, which provides a balance of interdisciplinary breadth, focused areas of study, and professional skills development. This, along with our strong relationships with schools and programs across the Yale campus and a multitude of external organizations, enables students to understand the scale of today’s challenges and to become leaders in addressing them across a range of sectors—including government, business, law, nongovernmental organizations, academia, public health, and communications.

The challenges we face require ever greater levels of innovative scholarship and leadership. In the coming years we will hone and implement a new strategic plan to chart our future. Together we will work to broaden and deepen the School’s impact on a sustainable future through scholarship, practice, training, and engagement. With a sense of urgency and a spirit of dedication, we seek to honor and expand on our historical strengths and commitment to provide leading scholarship and impact across the full range of issues we address. And we will continue to strengthen our own community, empowering a wider range of individuals and contributions, creating a sense of collective identity committed to the common good, and promoting a diverse and inclusive F&ES community.

We invite you to be a part of our exciting future.

  • Ingrid C. Burke
  • Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. Dean
  • School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

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