Author Archive: Michelle Werts


Getting Our Hands Dirty

If you’re a regular reader here on Loose Leaf, you know that our forests and ecosystems, while very good self-regulators, sometimes need a helping hand — and a helping hand is what they’re going to get en masse tomorrow. Tomorrow is National Public Lands Day, the largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands each year. […]

Tulip, Magnolia or Something Else?

The national champion tuliptree yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) in Chesapeake, Va., stands at 115 feet in height, with a trunk that is almost 30 feet around. All of which makes it pretty impressive, but maybe even more impressive is that its lineage could possibly date back to the Early Cretaceous period, meaning its ancestors shaded the […]

Creating SAFE Noise

Today, American Forests is on the Hill — Capitol Hill that is — co-hosting a briefing and panel discussion titled “Protecting the Economy and Communities: Shared Risks, Shared Responsibility in Planning for the Effects of Climate Change.” Being held in one of the Senate office buildings, this briefing aims to build support for and understanding […]

Saving a Little, Getting a Lot

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 2010 (protecting 17 […]

It’s Our Party!

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 man and farm […]

The Need for Urban Parks

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 my friends and […]

Recovering Reds

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 cities and industrial […]

After Katrina: Eight Years Later

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, while cities, communities […]

Endangered in Minnesota

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, though, some species […]

A Lifetime of Conservation, A Lasting Legacy

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 would undertake in […]