A trained forester who led the U.S. Division of Forestry and started the first four-year forestry education program in the U.S., Bernhard Fernow was born to Eduard Ernst Leopold, a lawyer, and his second wife Clara Nordman, in Hohensalza (today’s Inowrocław) in the Prussian province of Posen. He worked in the Prussian forest service and the plan for his life was an education in forestry and then managing the estate of his uncle. He studied law at the University of Königsberg, served as a lieutenant in the Franco-German War of 1870/71, and received a doctorate at the Forest Academy at Münden. Despite the well-laid out plan, cupid’s arrows changed them when he met American Olivia Reynolds, who was visiting her brother while he was studying in Germany. When the American Forestry Association met in 1876 in Philadelphia, Fernow used the opportunity to travel to the U.S. and see his fiancée. They soon married, and by 1882 he had become a U.S. citizen. Together they would have five children, four sons and a daughter who died young. Olivia always supported him in his work.
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