Author Archive: Michelle Werts


Science Versus Perception

According to the National Climatic Data Center, June 2011-May 2012 was the warmest 12-month period in the U.S. since recordkeeping began more than a century ago. Heat waves across the U.S. over the last few weeks have helped fuel record-setting fires and major storms like the derecho that left millions of people without power across […]

Diverse Heritages

Have you ever marveled at the diversity of America’s national parks? If not, today is your chance as we celebrate two drastically different, but equally impressive locations. As I experienced last week on my first trip to the Pacific Northwest, that area of the country is full of some spectacular landscapes — and one of […]

Raising Urban Forests

As the old adage goes, it takes a village to raise a child. I don’t know how true this is for child rearing, but I do know it takes a village to raise a forest in a city. I’ve spent the last week in Sacramento, California, and Portland, Oregon, meeting with the dedicated men and […]

The Smokies

History is complicated — probably because life is complicated. Great Smoky Mountains National Park celebrates its 78th anniversary today, but the story of the founding of America’s most visited national park — more than eight million people visit each year — is much more complex than a simple anniversary suggests. The idea of creating a […]

Meet the Street View Trekker

I tend to be adverse to technology. I have a “dumb” cell phone that is mainly used for phone calls, although an occasional text will pass its way. I prefer my books as physical books — can I admit that on a blog about forests? When going places, I rely on handwritten directions and a […]

Trees of the Sea

When I hear the word ocean, I picture sparkling blue waters, colorful fish and wide open sky. Having been accused of being able to swim better than I walk, I have a natural affection for all types of water, including oceans. So today’s celebration of World Oceans Day is near to my heart. The idea […]

Celebrating World Environment Day

Today marks the 40th World Environment Day. Started in 1972 by the United Nations, World Environment Day aims to be “the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action.” Each year, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) chooses a theme to help focus its environmental message around World Environment Day and the […]

Take a Hike

Tomorrow, Americans across the country will be celebrating the 19th annual National Trails Day, which was started by the American Hiking Society back in 1993 — but the idea of a day for celebrating America’s hiking trails actually goes farther back. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan’s President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors recommended that every person […]

Geology vs. Ecology

Thirty-two years ago this month, Washington’s Mount St. Helens erupted and collapsed, creating a massive avalanche and a stone- and ash-filled wind that would decimate the surrounding countryside. Nearly 150 square miles of forest were destroyed almost instantly — and then the eruption continued for nine hours. What was once a lush, green landscape was […]

Trees Can’t Swim

Martha’s Vineyard. It’s a place I’ve always associated with vacation cottages and well-to-do New Englanders. Little did I know that this set of islands off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is actually a hotbed for forest researchers, who are studying some interesting phenomena on this idyllic locale. First, there’s the case of the forest consumed by […]