The principal idea of the conservation ethic is that the natural world has intrinsic and intangible worth along with the resources it provides for our benefit. The Forest Service has come to embody this viewpoint: that people can recognize the essential values in our natural resources, and also create a set of priorities for their sustainable use.
Conservation was a leading concern during the Progressive Era that ushered in the 20th century. Working with President Theodore Roosevelt and the United States Congress, Pinchot helped chart a new course in American civilization. Legislation set aside vast areas of land for the public trust and changed the management of our nation’s natural resources.
The legacy of this era is unmatched: 230 million total acres of wildlife habitat conserved; 84,000 acres for each day Roosevelt served as President. This combination of the democratic process and natural resource use is uniquely American, and an important part of our national policy, culture, history and identity.
The tradition of democratic management of our public natural resources is reflected in the U.S. Forest Service and its motto for today: Caring for the Land and Serving People.
Now, at the turn of the 21st century, science and technology play an increasingly important role in the management of our public lands. In 2008, the nation’s universities awarded 225,000 degrees in STEM educational fields – far from the projected 400,000 degrees needed by 2015. It’s time to think about your future in conservation.