National Forest Day is celebrated on December 23 in honor of the versatile name used as both a first name and a surname in English-speaking countries. It was popularized by actor Forest Whitaker, a veteran of Hollywood and an advocate for children affected by war under the office of the U.N. Secretary-General. ‘Forrest’ is an alternate spelling of the name and was used to refer to someone who worked in woodlands reserved for hunting. Many groundskeepers and wardens in England used it as their surname. Aside from Whitaker, several American politicians like Forest Hays Jr., Forest Hopkins, and Forest Harness share this name.
History of National Forest Day
Republican politician Forest Harness, born on June 24, 1895, started serving the U.S. government as a first lieutenant in the army during World War I. He fought in the 319th Infantry from 1917-1919. Harness got promoted to Captain and stayed in the army reserves until 1949. In his civilian life, he worked as an attorney in Indiana, then as an assistant to the Attorney General until 1935. In 1939, Harness got elected to Congress, where he famously claimed that Washington had prior knowledge of the Pearl Harbor attacks and the government withheld information from military commanders. He served until 1948, when his re-election efforts failed, and he went back to practicing law. Harness died in Sarasota, Florida, in 1974 and was interred at the mausoleum at Crown Point Cemetery in his hometown of Kokomo, Indiana.
Forest Hays Jr. was an American politician from the state of Georgia state, serving for 16 years in the House of Representatives on a Democratic Party ticket before his sudden death in 1987. Born in High Point, Georgia, in 1928, Hays briefly served as a seaman in the U.S. Navy between 1946-1948 before venturing into radio and television services in 1954. During his career as a congressman, he sat on the committee for Defense & Veteran Affairs, State Institutions & Properties, and Game, Fish & Recreation.
Forest Steven Whitaker was born on July 15, 1961, to Forest E. Whitaker Jr. and Laura Francis, an insurance salesman and special education teacher. Whitaker got his breakout role in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” playing Charles Jefferson, a football player. Whitaker had no idea how successful the movie would be, catapulting him to stardom and opening up roles for him in the future. He’s appeared in dozens of films since then, including “The Last King of Scotland,” “The Butler,” and “Southpaw.”
National Forest Day timeline
Forest Harness gets elected to Congress.
Forest Hayes Jr. enlists in the U.S. Navy.
Forest Harness finally retires after 43 years of distinguished service as a soldier, prosecutor, and politician.
Forest Whitaker makes his acting debut in the cult-classic coming-of-age high school movie “Fast Times At Ridgemont High.”
National Forest Day FAQs
Is Forest a common name?
Forest is not a common first or last name.
What nationality is the name Forest?
Forest is a name of French origin.
Is Forest a girl or boy name?
Forest is a name used by both boys and girls.
National Forest Day Activities
Host a movie night
Forest Whitaker has starred in more than 80 films over an acting career spanning 41 years. You can sift through plenty of content on your movie night!
Read about Forest Harness
Harness’s 43-year career was full of incredible achievements. He was an accomplished statesman, soldier, and leader.
Learn about Forest Hayes Jr.
Hayes was another seasoned politician who served his country admirably.
5 Interesting Facts About Forests
The ones who’ll stay together forever
Forest Hays Jr. was buried with his wife at Lookout Cemetery in High Point, Georgia.
The hands-on approach
Forest Whitaker spent around four months living in Uganda to prepare for his role in “The Last King of Scotland.”
The rise of a gifted lawyer
Forest Harness was considered the most capable prosecutor in Chicago at the height of his career.
The Forest who won a prestigious award
Forest Harness earned a Purple Heart after sustaining injuries in World War I.
The Forest who loves yoga
Forest Whitaker is an avid Kundalini yoga practitioner.
Why We Love National Forest Day
It’s a very rare name
Very few people are called Forest. It’s unique in that regard.
It is a gender-neutral name
Not many names work seamlessly for boys and girls. Luckily, Forest checks both boxes perfectly.
The name has a very earthy vibe
Just like its French origins, Forest is an earthy, rich name. It’s anchored in nature.
National Forest Day dates