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The Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (FES) is one of the graduate professional schools of Yale Universitymarker. Founded to train foresters, it now trains students and supports research in a range of disciplines bearing on people, natural resources, and the environment. Still offering forestry instruction, the school has the oldest graduate forestry program in the United States.


The School was founded in 1900 as the Yale Forest School, to provide high-level forestry training suited to American conditions. At the urging of Yale alumnus Gifford Pinchot, his parents endowed the two-year postgraduate program. At the time Pinchot was serving as Bernhard Fernow's successor as Chief of the Division of Forestry (predecessor of the USFS). Pinchot released two foresters from the Division to start the School: fellow Yale graduate Henry Solon Graves and J.W. Toumey. Graves became the School's first dean and Toumey its second.

When the School opened, other places in the United States offered forestry training, but none had a post-graduate program. (Both Pinchot and Graves had gone to Europe to study forestry after graduating from Yale.) In the fall of 1900, the New York State College of Forestry at Cornell had 24 students, Biltmore Forest Schoolmarker 9, and Yale 7. Despite its small size, from its beginnings the School influenced American forestry. The first two chiefs of the USFS were Pinchot and Graves; the next three were graduates from the School's first decade. Wilderness and land conservation advocate Aldo Leopold graduated in the class of 1908.

In, 1915, Yale School of Forestry's second dean, James W. Toumey, became one of the "charter members", along with William Bray of Syracuse Universitymarker and Raphael Zon, of the Ecological Society of America. In 1950, the 1917 "activist wing" of that society formed today's The Nature Conservancy.

The school changed its name to the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in 1972. The school's newest dean is Sir Peter Crane, the English evolutionary biologist who formerly served as Director of the Royal Botanic Gardensmarker at Kewmarker, Londonmarker.

School buildings

Kroon Hall, as seen from Prospect Street
The School offers classes at Sage Hall, Greeley Labs, Marsh Hall, the Environmental Science Center, the houses at 230 Prospect St., 301 Prospect St., and 380 Edwards St., and teaches the Yale College undergraduate courses needed for the Environmental Studies major. Construction began on May 3, 2007, for a new state-of-the-art green building that consolidated most of the School's offices and classrooms. Named for the Philanthropist Richard Kroon (Yale Class of 1964), the building has of space and is "a showcase of the latest developments in green building technology, a healthy and supportive environment for work and study, and a beautiful building that actively connects students, faculty, staff, and visitors with the natural world." The building is expected to obtain Platinum Rating under the LEED certification system. It is designed by Hopkins Architects of London with Architect of Record Centerbrook Architects.

Degree programs

The School currently grants the following degrees: Master of Environmental Management (MEM); Master of Environmental Science (MESc); Master of Forestry (MF); and Master of Forest Science (MFS); Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.); and the Doctor of Forestry and Environmental Studies (DFES), which is being phased out in favor of the Ph.D. A program is also available for Yale College undergraduates in which a bachelor's degree in the College and a master's degree from the School can be earned in five years. In addition, the School offers joint-degree programs with the Yale School of Architecturemarker, Yale Divinity School, Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Yale Law School, Yale School of Managementmarker, Yale School of Public Health, Pace University School of Lawmarker, and Vermont Law Schoolmarker.

Summer sessions of the School were held on the Pinchot estate, Grey Towers, in Milfordmarker from 1901 to 1926. (The site is now Grey Towers National Historic Landmark.)

Centers and programs

  • Center for Biodiversity and Conservation Science;
  • Center for Business and the Environment at Yale;
  • Center for Coastal and Watershed Systems;
  • Center for Environmental Law and Policy;
  • Center for Green Chemistry & Engineering at Yale;
  • Center for Industrial Ecology;
  • Environment and Health Initiative;
  • Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry;
  • Hixon Center for Urban Ecology;
  • Tropical Resources Institute.

School forest

The School owns and manages of forestland in Connecticutmarker, New Hampshiremarker, and Vermontmarker. The Yale-Myers Forest, in Union, Connecticutmarker, donated to Yale in 1930 by alumnus George Hewitt Myers, is managed by the school as a multiple-use working forest. Yale-Toumey Forest, near Keene, New Hampshiremarker, was set up by James W. Toumey (a former dean of the School) in 1913. Other Yale forestlands include Goss Woods, Crowell Forest, Cross Woods, Bowen Forest, and Crowell Ravine.[301142]

Student groups

The school has an active tradition of student involvement in academic and extracurricular life. Many students take part in student interest groups, which organize events around environmental issues of interest to them. There are also purely social and recreational groups, such as the Forestry Club, which organizes Friday "TGIF" ("Thank-God-I'm-a-Forester") happy hours and school parties; the Polar Bear club, which swims monthly in Long Island Sound under the full moon (year-round); Veggie Dinner, which is a weekly vegetarian dinner club; and the Loggerrhythyms, which is an a capella singing group.

Notable graduates


  1. "The History of Forestry in America", page 710, by W.N. Sparhawk (a Yale graduate) in Trees: Yearbook of Agriculture,1949. Washington,D.C.
  2. Pinchot, G., Breaking New Ground, p.152 (1998 commemorative edition), Google book search
  3. "The History of Forestry in America", page 710, by W.N. Sparhawk(a Yale graduate) in Trees: Yearbook of Agriculture,1949. Washington,D.C.
  5. [1]

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