Trees For Tomorrow has strong ties to CCC
When Trees For Tomorrow observed the 80th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps at its annual Forest Fest celebration in 2013, little did it know where it would lead.
But then, they didn’t know Richard Chrisinger prior to Forest Fest last August.
Mr. Chrisinger is a CCC veteran of Camp Rusk in Troy, Wis., and CCC camps in Oregon and Washington. He lives in Springfield, Mo., and planted a seed while attending Forest Fest festivities at the natural resources specialty school in Eagle River.
It’s a seed that he’s helped to nurture and grow!
Mr. Chrisinger and Trees For Tomorrow worked together to bring a CCC Worker Statue to the school’s campus, where thousands of middle and high school students – and adults – will see it each year and learn about the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Mr. Chrisinger donated a significant portion of the cost of the statue, and Trees For Tomorrow received donations to pay the remainder of the cost.
“Richard is a man with a mission and we’re excited about being part of that mission,” said Cheryl Todea, operations manager at Trees For Tomorrow. “It’s especially exciting since CCC members helped build some of the structures on our campus.”
Trees For Tomorrow is a private, nonprofit organization that was started in 1944 with a goal of reforesting Wisconsin’s northwoods and began educating landowners and citizens about the need for proper land management.
Today, Trees For Tomorrow is a private, nonprofit natural resource specialty school. Its mission is to provide balanced, objective information on the management and use of trees, forests and other natural resources.
The school’s campus is partially on U.S. Forest Service property that originally was the site of the Region 9 Training School, serving forestry personnel from nine Midwest states. The Region 9 school, built primarily between 1937 and 1938 and open until 1941, was used for training personnel from national and state forests.
At least two of the buildings – the Training School’s Administration Building and the Dining Hall – were constructed by men from nearby CCC camps. Corps members also may have helped construct other buildings on the campus.
The property qualified for the National Register of Historic Places in 1996 because it “is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history,” according to the official registration form.
“Areas of significance” noted in the documentation were conservation and government, with both the Forest Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps having their origins in the American conservation movement.
Region Nine Training School was used to train supervisors, rangers, foresters, CCC camp supervisors and others, and focused on the development and management of CCC projects in the forests.
In September 1983 – the 50th anniversary of the founding of the CCC – the Trees For Tomorrow campus was the site of the Third Biennnial Convention of the National Association of CCC Alumni’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Wooden tables used in the school’s Dining Hall bear the signatures of the men who attended that event.
The NACCCA placed a brass plaque on a low boulder in front of the old Administration Building in 1987 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Region Nine Training School.
In 2013, Trees For Tomorrow honored the 80th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps during its annual Forest Fest celebration in August. Mr. Chrisinger and five other CCC veterans attended and signed a bench that was dedicated in honor of the 80th anniversary. Family members of CCC veterans who have passed on also signed the bench in honor of their loved ones.
“It was an emotional experience for many of the family members, and for those of us on the Trees For Tomorrow staff who had the opportunity to participate in the festivities,” said Barbara Janesh, former events coordinator for TFT. “The CCC experience touched so many lives and continues to do so through the legacy the men left.”
As part of the 80th anniversary festivities, Trees For Tomorrow also planted a sugar maple tree on campus in honor of the CCCs.
“Trees For Tomorrow’s strong connection to the CCCs makes it especially appropriate to have a CCC Worker statue on campus,” said Janesh.
“The statue will be a focal point for educational efforts on the CCC’s legacy and will help us bring the message home to both the students who come here for workshops and northern Wisconsin as a whole.”