Author Archive: Michelle Werts


From Fire to Flooding

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 200 of those […]

Fire in the Rockies

“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 Frontiers in Ecology […]

More Than a Forest

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 with it. Located […]

From Tragedy to Beauty

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 reported by WCCO […]

The Cannabis Conundrum Continues

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 ecosystems. While the […]

Run, Salmon, Run

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 can see from […]

At Home in the Trees

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, my colleagues and […]

Seeing Restoration at Work

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 Forests and Alcoa […]

Are Beetles Fanning Western Wildfires?

The last two wildfire seasons have been devastating to Coloradans. Lives have been lost, and homes and communities destroyed. Last year’s Waldo Canyon Fire caused more than $450 million in damages, destroying 347 homes in the Colorado Springs area and killing two people. This year’s recently contained Black Forest Fire is starkly similar: almost $300 […]

If You Protect It, They Will Come

The gopher tortoise. The ocelot. The red-cockaded woodpecker. The black bear. Within the last two years, American Forests Global ReLeaf projects in Florida, Texas, Alabama and Louisiana have restored forest habitat in these Gulf Coast states for each of the above listed species — alongside many more — and while we’re incredibly proud of these […]