Author Archive: Michelle Werts


Endangered Flora and Fauna

Today is Endangered Species Day. Originally, I was going to honor this special day by posting pictures of cute, cuddly, nifty and sadly endangered species — don’t worry, that’s still happening — but alas, environmental news that affects some of our endangered friends has crept into the headlines this week, so I feel like maybe […]

The Corps of Discovery

History books are filled with extraordinary events, fascinating people and unbelievable moments of discovery. Sometimes, all of these things come together, as is the case with one of my favorite moments in history: the westward adventure of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery into uncharted territories and their remarkable return — a journey that began […]

The Crown of the Continent

It’s called the Crown of the Continent, with more than a million acres of preserved forests, alpine meadows, lakes, mountain peaks and glacial-carved valleys. More than a thousand species of vascular plants, including 20 different tree species; nearly 70 species of mammals, including grizzly bears, wolverines, gray wolves and lynx; and more than 270 species […]

How Much Is a Tree Worth?

Here at American Forests, we love big trees — as is evident by our 70-plus-year-old National Big Tree Program. We love big trees for a variety of reasons, like their size and the histories they tell, but perhaps the biggest reason is the most hidden of all: They’re good for our forests. A study released […]

Python-hunting Dogs to the Rescue

Snakes creep me out. I get goosebumps looking at their pictures. I hid my face during any sequence in the last few Harry Potter films involving a large digitized snake. Yep, I’m a wuss when it comes to snakes. Yet, for the last few years, I’ve been fascinated by the story of Burmese pythons in […]

Father of Landscape Architecture and Urban Parks

Last week, we celebrated the birthday of the “Father of National Parks.” Today, we’re recognizing another famous father. Frederick Law Olmsted, aka “Father of Landscape Architecture” and creator of many of America’s famous urban parks, was born on this date in 1822. During a century in which America was rapidly expanding and becoming more urban, […]

Small But Mighty

When I first heard of American Forests’ National Big Tree Program, I instantly envisioned towering, giant trees — the kind that hurt your neck when you try to take in all their grandeur. But, my awe of those redwoods and sequoias was soon replaced by a love for the “tiny titans.” As their name implies, […]

At Home in the Forest

When you read the words forests and wildlife, I’m sure the first visions that pop into your head are pictures of deer foraging in the understory, squirrels running up trunks and birds flitting in the canopy. Forests, though, aren’t home just to our mammalian and avian friends. What would your reaction be if I told […]

Pigskin Versus White Oak

American football first emerged on the sports scene about 140 years ago, around the same time that Virginia Tech was being founded in Blacksburg, Virginia. More than 200 years prior to those moments — back in the same century that America’s first permanent English settlement, Jamestown, was being established — some white oak trees took […]

A Threatening Insect Infestation

Every day, our forests and trees are under assault: from droughts, tornadoes and hurricanes to fires and climate change. One particular brand of threat, though, is often sneaky, small and numbers in the thousands: insects. Trees and insects can often have a symbiotic relationship, with the insect providing pollination and other services to the trees, […]