The Duke Forest Teaching and Research Laboratory was officially founded 90 years ago today on July 1, 1931, making it the working and research site for the first forestry school in the American South, the Duke School of Forestry.
Today, Duke Forest is an asset for the entire university with 7,080 acres of teaching and research lands extending across Durham, Orange, and Alamance counties.
It is the university’s biggest and oldest outdoor classroom and living laboratory, and nine decades of teaching and research on the Duke Forest has shaped how the world understands forests, contributed to our understanding of climate change, and served as a home base for ground-breaking research in other fields as diverse as atmospheric chemistry and electrical engineering.
For the community, the forest has become a vital refuge for nature and people, anchoring the quality of life in central North Carolina providingcountless ecosystem services—like clean water and clean air—to an increasingly urbanizing region. It has become a critical natural resource protecting plants and wildlife and connecting threatened habitats.
Above, Duke President Vincent Price joins the 90th anniversary celebration. Price encourages the Duke community to take a walk in the forest, read and reflect about its history, and share in pride in the forest.
During this month, Duke Today will share a selection of stories and videos related to the Forest's history and the valuable role it continues to play in research and teaching and for the local community.