Author Archive: Loose Leaf Team


A Sand-filled Anniversary

By Lizzie Wasilewska Today is the anniversary of one of the most biologically and geologically unique parks in the U.S.: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. In addition to its famous desert dunes, Great Sand Dunes includes grasslands and wetlands; lakes, rivers and streams; tundra; and forests that spread from the desert’s edges to […]

Saving a Little, Getting a Lot

By Michelle Werts How’s this for a bargain: By protecting 17 percent of the world’s land, we can preserve 67 percent of the world’s plant species. Not such a bad return on investment, eh? A new study published last week in Science revealed that two goals set by the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity in […]

It’s Our Party!

By Michelle Werts It’s one of those eternal questions: Is a birthday a time for celebrating the past or for looking with hope to the future? Then again, why can’t it be a little bit of both? Today, American Forests turns 138. We were born in Chicago thanks to Dr. John Aston Warder, a medical […]

The Need for Urban Parks

By Michelle Werts I’m one of those people who remember very little of their childhoods. I have vague impressions of events and activities, but very little that is concrete. Among those “little” things, though, of which I have a crystal-clear memory are my childhood parks and playgrounds. I can picture the grove of trees where […]

Recovering Reds

By Michelle Werts Two new studies reveal good news for two species of “red” trees: the eastern redcedar and the red spruce. And the good news is actually tied to old news: the 40-plus-year-old Clean Air Act. In 1970, Congress established the Clean Air Act to address the unsightly, unhealthy pollution and smog plaguing America’s […]

After Katrina: Eight Years Later

By Michelle Werts Eight years ago today, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana. The level three category hurricane unleashed upward of 10 inches of rain on the Gulf Coast with winds at speeds greater than 140 mph. By the time the storm dissipated a day later, more than 80 percent of New Orleans was flooded, […]

Endangered in Minnesota

By Michelle Werts Most are familiar with the story of the bald eagle: how the iconic American bird was almost extinct in the United States in the mid-1900s, but through habitat protection, the banning of DDT and other management activities, the species recovered and was removed from the Endangered Species Act list in 2007. Unfortunately, […]

A Lifetime of Conservation, A Lasting Legacy

By Michelle Werts In 1924, right after becoming the first female graduate of the University of Alaska, an intrepid young woman and her new husband embarked on an unusual honeymoon: a 500-mile caribou research trip — by dogsled — through the Alaskan wilderness. This was only one of many nature adventures that Margret “Mardy” Murie […]

From Fire to Flooding

By Michelle Werts Sometimes, certain regions of the country just can’t catch a break. Last year, the Colorado Springs area was devastated by the Waldo Canyon Fire, which was the most destructive fire in Colorado’s history until this year’s Black Forest Fire. The Waldo Canyon Fire destroyed more than 300 homes; a year later, approximately […]

Fire in the Rockies

By Michelle Werts “Euro-American settlement and the 20th-century fire suppression practices drastically altered historic fire regimes, leading to excessive fuel accumulation and uncharacteristically severe wildfires in some areas and diminished flammability resulting from shifts to more fire-sensitive forest species in others,” writes retired forester Kevin C. Ryan, et al, in the August online edition of […]