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Documentary Chronology of Selected Events in the Development of the American Conservation Movement, 1847-1920


The National Conservation Exposition is held in Knoxville, Tennessee, in September and October, with the support of local and national business and political leaders, including Gifford Pinchot and WJ McGee, both of whom serve as advisors; though regional in emphasis, this is the major public effort in conservation education in this era, an ambitious attempt to educate the public into an understanding of conservation issues, and especially “to teach farmers and timber-land owners the necessity for general co-operation if we are to preserve the forests, streams, and soils of the country,” in the words of the Exposition’s chronicler; the Exposition reveals how thoroughly conservationism was construed as an issue of civic and even religious virtue in this era, and the sometimes uneasy alliance of business, civic, governmental, and religious leadership which gave early conservationism its remarkable breadth of support. A descriptive commemorative album, The First Exposition of Conservation and its Builders: An Official History of the National Conservation Exposition..., edited by W.M. Goodman, is published in 1914.

—The Library of Congress,, May 3, 2002

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