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Theodore C. Blegen Award

The Forest History Society's (FHS) Theodore C. Blegen Award recognizes the best scholarship in forest and conservation history published in a journal other than Environmental History. FHS initiated the award in 1972.


Blegen Award Details

Named for Theodore C. Blegen, one of the founders of the Forest History Society, the Blegen award consists of a $500 cash award and a plaque. Editors of scholarly journals in the fields of forest and conservation history annually submit up to two articles from their publications for award consideration. An award subcommittee of the FHS board evaluates submissions and select the article that best exemplifies (1) contribution to new knowledge, (2) strength of scholarship, and (3) clarity and grace of presentation.


Recent Recipients

2012 Blegen Award
Davis, Lynne. "Home or Global Treasure? Understanding Relationships Between the Heiltsuk Nation and Environmentalists." BC Studies: The British Columbia Quarterly 171 (Autumn 2011): 9-36. Looks at attempts to create a wilderness park in the Great Bear Rainforest area of British Columbia. Davis examines the tensions between environmentalists and the local indigenous Heiltsuk peoples who were directly impacted by the project.

2011 Blegen Award
Sutter, Paul S. "What Gullies Mean: Georgia's 'Little Grand Canyon' and Southern Environmental History." The Journal of Southern History 76, No. 3 (August 2010): 579-616. Examines Providence Canyon State Park in Georgia and its human-produced canyon of soil erosion resulting from poor agricultural practices during the 19th century. Looks at the preservation of this landscape of environmental degradation and explores the importance of soil to the study of southern environmental history.
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(c) Southern Historical Association
2010 Blegan Award
Swanson, Drew Addison. “Fighting over Fencing: Agricultural Reform and Antebellum Efforts to Close the Virginia Open Range.” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 117, No. 2 (2009): 104-139. Swanson revisits the literature and offers a reinterpretation of the drive for enclosure in the antebellum South based on concerns about productivity and fertility, rather than class.
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2009 Blegen Award
Dant, Sara. “Making Wilderness Work: Frank Church and the American Wilderness Movement.” Pacific Historical Review 77, No. 2 (May 2008): 237-272. Argues that Church was not only at the vanguard of the evolving definition of wilderness in America but also established a viable process for designating wilderness areas. Church's coalition-building vision of wilderness as a communally defined natural space, not necessarily “untrammeled by man,” became the standard for wilderness designation

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2008 Blegen Award
Hsiung, David C. "Food, Fuel, and the New England Environment in the War for Independence, 1775-1776" published in The New England Quarterly 80, No. 4 (December 2007):614-651. Discusses the impact of agricultural and forest products on the first year of the Revolution and the importance of local production and supply systems on the fight for control over the rebelling colonies.
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2007 Blegen Award
Willis, Roxanne. "A New Game in the North: Alaska Native Reindeer Herding, 1890-1940." Western Historical Quarterly 37 (Autumn 2006): 277-301. Assesses the introduction of domesticated reindeer to Alaska by the missionary Sheldon Jackson, ostensibly for the benefit of native communities. Explores new ground with a compelling narrative and a keen sense for the complexities of the interaction between Native Alaskans, do-gooding Anglo-Americans, and the shifting economy of the far north.
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2006 Blegen Award
Fiege, Mark. "The Weedy West: Mobile Nature, Boundaries, and Common Space in the Montana Landscape." Western Historical Quarterly 36 (Spring 2005): 22-47. Examines the movement of weeds across human boundaries in Montana during the 20th century, and how collective responses to that movement created common geographic space in which people adjusted land allocation to ecology.

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Previous recipients