Author Archive: Lisa Swann


A Beetle’s Northward March

You have no doubt heard by now the story of the mountain pine beetle devastating hundreds of thousands of acres of forests in the western U.S. A similar tale is playing out in the mid-Atlantic, as the southern pine bark beetle has taken hold in the vast and dense New Jersey pinelands. About the size […]

Snow and Ash

Unless you’ve had your head in the clouds, you know that much of the country is experiencing unusually cold temperatures. Minnesota recently experienced a sub-zero temperature plunge so severe that school was cancelled — a rare occurrence in a state that is no stranger to cold winters. One positive effect of this arctic blast is […]

100 Years of an Iconic Park

Rocky Mountain National Park, established in 1915, will begin celebrating its 100th anniversary later this year, so it’s a perfect year to visit. The park was created to showcase the majesty of the Rocky Mountains, with nearly 250,000 acres of the park designated as a wilderness area. Within two hours of Denver, Colo., the park […]

Younger Trees Better Repel Mountain Pine Beetle

A new study from researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder shows that younger trees with smoother bark are better at repelling the mountain pine beetle. The epidemic pine beetle attack has spread across western states since 1996, affecting millions of acres of forest, including those in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Colorado doctoral student Scott […]

Christmas Tree Diseases Hit Home

Some of you may have brought a perfect, green Christmas tree home by now, but consider the fate of some Leyland cypress and Frasier firs that could not be sold this year. Needle blight, which turns Leyland cypress trees’ needles brown, has been impacting many growers. After the needles turn brown, they fall off. Some […]

The Majestic Sugar Maple

The majestic sugar maple’s fall color finery is now at an end — but forest owners are looking forward to the next season: maple sugaring. The syrup you are devouring on your pancakes this holiday season is likely from the last sap run that happened in the spring. The sugar maple is an amazing tree, […]

History of the Longleaf Pine

When settlers first came to what is now the southeastern U.S., they were greeted by vast pine forests — the southern longleaf pine. They noticed its spirituality, its majesty, its wildlife and its old growth trees often leaning to one side with weight. Naturalist John Muir spent time there observing these great forests: “In ‘pine […]

A Tree and a Recipe

Found from the Great Plains eastward and from Georgia to Massachusetts, the black walnut tree prefers rich floodplain soil and usually associates with other hardwoods such as maple, elm and sycamore.  Considered somewhat rare, its wood is used for furniture and gun stock. Some thieves have caught on to its value and have posed as […]

105 Years of Zion National Park

Zion National Park in southwestern Utah is celebrating its 105th anniversary tomorrow, and there is a lot to celebrate! With deep, sandstone canyons, pinyon-juniper and conifer woodlands, hanging gardens and waterfalls, the park is a delight to visitors. Some 207 types of birds can be found in the park. This rich tapestry of habitats and […]

The People’s Tree

More than 300 people gathered recently in 25-degree weather to witness the harvesting of the 88-foot 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree from the Colville National Forest in northeastern Washington State, the first step in its 5,000 mile journey to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. It took more than a dozen equipment operators and spotters to […]