Author Archive: Amanda Tai


Bargain in the Bayou

It can be hard to turn down a two-for-one deal. But this kind of bargain isn’t just benefitting your wallet; it can benefit the environment too! A new methodology tool has been developed to help restore wetlands along the Gulf Coast while also establishing the grounds for a carbon offset market. Tierra Resources, a small […]

New Year, New Plan

Fun Fact: The USDA Forest Service was formed on this day in 1905, which means the agency is now 107 years old. Happy Birthday! And even after a century of work, the agency is still looking for ways to improve. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! Last week, the Forest Service […]

Managing the Wild West

Wyoming is exactly what I envision as the great American West; a region of the country I have yet to (but want very much want to) visit. The western half of the state is covered by the Rocky Mountains and rangelands, while the eastern part of the state is mostly high-elevation prairie. The state is […]

Planting Trees With Lemurs

I’ve loved lemurs ever since I saw the movie Madagascar in 2005. Two years later, I did a summer internship in Madagascar, working for a nonprofit organization in a remote village on the southern coast. One of the highlights of my summer was when we visited Berenty Reserve, a small private forest along the Mandrake […]

Pay to Play

One of my favorite places in D.C. is Rock Creek Park. I frequently go there for hikes because I enjoy being outside and staying active. Want to know another reason why it’s so great? It costs absolutely nothing to get in! Washington, D.C. is a great city to find free things to do, and you […]

Forest Thinning: Too Much of a Good Thing?

2011 was a record year for wildfires. Extreme drought conditions plagued the southwestern U.S. across Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona. The heat and dryness not only interfered with crops and livestock, but also caused one of the longest and most intense wildfire seasons ever. Texas, Arizona and New Mexico saw their biggest wildfires on […]

Policy Year in Review

2012 is just a few days away. That means all the 2011 year-in-review lists are coming out. I usually check out the lists for top news stories or top songs, but what about environmental policies? This was certainly a year for environmental dispute with “the most anti-environment House in history” (as stated by Representative Henry […]

Treks and the City

Recently, there’s been a huge push in this country to get people to be more active and maintain a healthier lifestyle. A major part of that effort is encouraging people to go outside. When we go outside, there’s a whole world of activities to explore: hiking, skiing, biking, kayaking and camping – just to name […]

Say it Ain’t So, Smokey!

I remember watching TV as a kid and seeing USDA Forest Service ads with Smokey Bear and his famous catchphrase, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires.” I also just learned that Smokey’s fire-safety campaign is the longest-running PSA campaign in U.S. history! Last week, House Republicans considered cutting Forest Service educational programs, including the famous […]

Success Is Sweet for Rural Communities

I love Vermont and maple syrup. None of that fake sugary “pancake syrup” for me. I grew up in New England, where I was surrounded by a culture that embraced small farmers and local businesses like maple syrup producers. Thanks to a new grant program from the USDA, my Sunday brunches will now be a […]