Gary Hartshorn '65
President and CEO of the World Forestry Center
Seeing the Forest through the Trees
"A liberal arts education was mind-opening for me. I continue to have a broader appreciation of issues and problems."
Chocolate isn’t the first thing to come to mind when thinking about forestry, but it’s one of the ways Gary Hartshorn ’65, president and CEO of the World Forestry Center (WFC), spreads the word about the importance of the world’s forests. As he explains in his lectures during WFC’s Chocolatefest, one of our favorite culinary indulgences comes from a small tropical tree.
Located in Portland, Ore., WFC is a nonprofit educational institution featuring an award-winning discovery museum and two working forests managed with sustainable practices. In addition to overseeing WFC operations, Hartshorn is an adjunct professor of tropical ecology at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and adjunct professor of tropical forestry at Oregon State University’s College of Forestry.
Hartshorn sharpened his interest in forestry at Moravian. Albert E.H. Gaumer and Rae Griffith nurtured his interest in trees and the importance of forests long before sustainable practices were en vogue. He also gained exposure to exotic tropical plants as caretaker of the College’s greenhouse.
“Doc Gaumer took us on many eye-opening field trips. They were very intensive and hands-on experiences,” he recalls. “He was an excellent ecologist, very knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and was able to convey that enthusiasm for field ecology. The field trips certainly kindled my interest in field ecology.
“Rae Griffith encouraged my botanical interests. She taught an excellent advanced botany course to just a handful of us biology students that provided an excellent overview to several botanical specialties.”
He also credits his liberal arts foundation with helping him tackle scientific issues from many perspectives. “A liberal arts education was mind-opening for me,” says Hartshorn, who earned a master’s degree in botany from North Carolina State University and Ph.D. in forest resources from University of Washington. “I continue to have a broader appreciation of issues and problems. For example, industrial forestry had been typically ‘anti-people,’ such that many young people went into forestry to be alone in the woods. Through my tropical work, I realized we had to involve people, especially local residents, in developing solutions to problems. I want to hear all sides of an issue before making a decision.”