Author Archive: American Forests


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 […]

More Than a Forest

By Michelle Werts It’s a land of Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, mountain hemlock, western redcedar, black cottonwood, quaking aspen and more. It’s 2.2 million acres of mountains, river valleys, hills, lakes and forest. Today, Kootenai National Forest celebrates its 107th anniversary of being part of the National Forest System — and we celebrate years of partnership […]

From Tragedy to Beauty

By Michelle Werts Trees don’t live forever. It’s a shocking statement, I know, but beyond old age, trees combat destructive forces on a daily basis: insect, disease, development and weather. All of these things can create devastating losses or damage to trees, but some people are turning these negatives into positives — artistic positives. As […]

The Cannabis Conundrum Continues

By Michelle Werts If you had told me two years ago when I started at American Forests that I would have a series on our soon-to-launch blog about marijuana, I definitely would have had a big laugh, but as it turns out, pot is no laughing matter when it comes to the health of forest […]

Run, Salmon, Run

By Michelle Werts It’s farmer vs. fisherman in California. The battleground is the Klamath River and at stake are the abundant agricultural fields of California’s Central Valley and the lives of thousands upon thousands of endangered Chinook salmon. No pressure. The instigator of this conflict is ages old and drought is its name. As you […]

At Home in the Trees

By Michelle Werts Everyone knows that birds and trees have a special relationship. For birds, trees provide shelter and food, and for many trees, birds help them reproduce by distributing their seeds. But this relationship can’t be taken for granted, and to protect one, we must protect the other. During my Michigan adventure last week, […]

Seeing Restoration at Work

By Michelle Werts I never knew that walking through a forest could feel like walking on the beach, but that was the experience I had last week on the west coast of Michigan. On Thursday, my forest restoration colleagues and I were in Muskegon visiting the project sites of work we’ve supported through the American […]