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Interpreting the Evidence

"Prevent Forest Fires" Postcard, Empire State Forest Products Association, 20th Century

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Era:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:


  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load "Prevent Forest Fires" Postcard, Empire State Forest Products Association, 20th Century in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
A postcard promoting forest fire prevention from the Empire State Forest Products Association to members of the New York State Forestry Association, 20th c.
Historical Context
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a multitude of large, dangerous, and expensive forest fires caused New York State to dedicate new manpower and develop new technologies for reporting forest fires throughout the Adirondack Forest Preserve. The "great fires" of 1903 and 1908, which consumed nearly one million acres of forest, led to the creation of fire districts with fire superintendents, fire patrolmen, and a systematic approach to address citizens' concerns about forest fire management in the Adirondacks. In 1909, the first Adirondack fire tower was built.
Essential Question
How do human settlement patterns impact the environment?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the main idea of the postcard and explain why it was needed.
Historical Challenges
When and why was the Empire State Forest Products Association founded? What was its original name? What types of people and companies joined the association?
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Write a newspaper article as if it were the year 1900 that describes safety precautions one must take to prevent forest fires.
Art: Create your own postcard to encourage people to prevent forest fires.