Ralph E. Brock, Forester
William Penn famously called for colonists to preserve one acre of forest for every five cleared. These colonists and their descendants would later exhaust the woods Pennsylvania was named for, razing large swaths of forest in the 19th century to feed furnaces and clear land for farming. By the early 20th century, efforts were underway to prioritize conservation of the commonwealth’s forest resources. The Penn State Forestry Academy at Mont Alto was founded in 1903, and one of its earliest graduates was Ralph E. Brock. Born in 1881, Brock may have been the first formally educated African American forester in the United States, graduating from the academy in 1906. He briefly served in the forestry service before starting his own nursery business in Philadelphia. The proceedings of the first convention of Pennsylvania foresters, held 1908 in Harrisburg, includes two lectures from Brock.
Convention of Pennsylvania Foresters
Proceedings of the first Convention of Pennsylvania Foresters : held at Harrisburg, Pa., March 4, 5, 6, 1908
C.E. Aughinbaugh, printer to the state of Pennsylvania, 1910
Photographs of Ralph E. Brock are part of the Forestry Education in Pennsylvania collection at Mont Alto Campus Library, Penn State Mont Alto.
CO2 PPM in 1908: 298.7