Author Archive: Loose Leaf Team


Completion of the Appalachian Trail

Seventy five years ago today, the 2,184-mile Appalachian Trail was completed. Finishing the trail was a huge task that took more than 15 years and hundreds of volunteers. Today, though, it is unlikely that the original volunteers would even recognize it with all the transformation it has undergone over the years. In its 75-year existence, […]

Weathering the Weather

By Michelle Werts Traditionally, in the U.S., August weather is described as the dog days of summer. (Fun-fact alert: The expression “dog days” goes back to the Greeks and Romans who noticed that Sirius — the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major, meaning large dog — would rise at daybreak and therefore thought it […]

The Father of Conservation

Saturday marks the birthday of Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the U.S. Forests Service. He is known as the “father of conservation” and credited for launching the conservation movement in the United States by urging Americans to preserve the past in order to protect the future. When asked by his father as a young […]

Happy Birthday, Smokey!

By Michelle Werts Today, one of the most famous bears in the country celebrates his 68th birthday. The U.S. Forest Service and Ad Council’s famous Smokey Bear made his first appearance back in 1944 with the tagline “Smokey Says – Care Will Prevent 9 out of 10 Forest Fires.” And while Smokey’s visage has undergone […]

Pesky Pachyderms

When I think of elephants, big, friendly giants come to mind. This said, I would much rather prefer to enjoy the friendly giants, weighing up to 16,500 pounds and standing close to 13 feet tall, with the comfort of a fence between us. New studies show, though, that it is trees that need to worry […]

Carbon-rich Coastlines

By Michelle Werts At American Forests, we’ve long recognized the importance of mangrove forests — by doing reforestation work for them and discussing them in our magazine and right here on Loose Leaf — and according to new research, protecting these forests should be seen as an affordable way to offset CO2 emissions. Mangrove forests, […]

Palms From the Past

Imagine taking tropical vacations to Antarctica. While that might seem like a stretch, new studies reveal that around 52 million years ago, palm trees were growing along the edge of the now ice-covered Antarctica. On Antarctica’s eastern coast researchers drilled a kilometer deep into the ocean floor and found layers of sediment containing pollen grains […]

A Scary Picture

By Michelle Werts As the well-known saying goes, “A picture’s worth a thousand words.” Well, how about two pictures? First, there’s this satellite image released by the NASA Earth Observatory of lodgepole pine forests near Grand Lake, Colorado on September 11, 2005. Now, the exact same location just six years later. Where did the green go? […]

Volcanic Beauty

This Wednesday, marks the 96th anniversary of two of Hawaii’s most prized national parks: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and Haleakalā National Park, both of which were established decades before Hawaii was even a state. Back in 1916, only one park was actually created to represent the combination of volcanic areas on the islands of Maui […]

On Time Departures

By Michelle Werts I am fascinated by annual migrations. I find it remarkable that so many creatures around the world are able to make the same trek season after season, year after year, when most humans these days have trouble navigating without their smart phones or GPS units. However, the mind-blowing regularity of some species’ […]