Recently, Chuck Leavell spoke at a SXSW panel on the future of music and corporate social responsibility along with Joel Babbitt, Lisa Pearson and Ray Kerins.  Chuck, as you know, is a highly accomplished musician, including his long run as keyboardist for The Rolling Stones.  You may even know that Chuck is co-founder of Mother Nature Network, the top environmental site, co-led with Joel.  But you may now know about how passionate Chuck is regarding our forests.

When we caught up outside of his talk in Austin, I was intrigued to learn that he is developing a new PBS series called America’s Forest Here’s a summary of what I have learned about the series, trees and Chuck’s passion for both.

Chuck studied forestry by correspondence and did his homework while riding the tour bus with the Fabulous Thunderbirds (a blues rock band formed in Texas) in the mid 80’s.  From there, he and his wife Rose Lane, turned her family’s land into a tree farm 3,000 acres strong.

Chuck grows southern yellow pine, which is well suited for the red clay soil of Georgia.

This emerging PBS series is allowing a wide range of Americans (from architects to artists to carpenters and more) to demonstrate the value of our Forests along with Chuck. It’s a fun approach and easy to learn and follow along.

Chuck is already sneaking in surprise jams, including a video of a jam session with the Beetle Kill Musicians at Hideaway Studios, who were all playing wood instruments, of course.  The jam, called “The Hideaway” is worth a listen.

Chuck’s passion for telling the stories of our country and its forests has really impacted me.  And it has caused me to reflect on why they are so important.  Things like this……

Trees store carbon instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.

We build our homes and much of what is in them via forests.

Trees reduce risks of natural disasters like landslides and flooding

They help maintain environmental conditions that improve farming conditions.

Trees make it easier to store water and moderate air and soil temperatures

We hunt, fish and relax in their “space”.

Our forests are a critical part of our world, yet as we know, no matter how progressive artificial intelligence becomes, it is unlikely they will ever be able to advocate for their cause.

It’s why we need leaders like Chuck to think about our 750 million acres of forest and find new ways to introduce us to their importance.

I wish Chuck well with his new series.  If any of you are interested in learning more about the series and how to support the show, I am sure Chuck would love to hear from you.

Best, Bob