Author Archive: Michelle Werts


Clearing the Air

“Air pollution is causing more deaths than HIV or malaria combined,” Kandeh Yumkella, director general of the U.N. Industrial Development Organization, told a conference in Oslo trying to work out new U.N. development goals for 2030. –The Huffington Post Green, April 9, 2013 Sometimes, when talking about air pollution, we get so caught up in […]

Action Against Climate Change

This week has been rather historic in D.C. between Supreme Court decisions and new presidential initiatives, and as you can imagine, the latter has us pretty revved up. On Tuesday, citing the need to address climate change for the health of our children and our children’s children, President Obama revealed his wide-ranging agenda regarding climate […]

Help Forests by Supporting the Farm Bill

What do food stamps, biofuels and environmental conservation have in common? A little something called the Farm Bill. And when I say little, I’m being facetious: The Farm Bill is a big, expensive, important deal to the tune of $939 billion in government spending and programs. What is it exactly? To use legislative speak, it’s […]

Big Mountains and Big Trees

The Great Smoky Mountains, which run along the Tennessee-North Carolina border, comprise one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world; they were formed 200 to 300 million years ago. A mere 79 years ago tomorrow, these mountains became protected as Great Smoky Mountains National Park after years of fundraising and effort by local residents […]

An Excel-lent Evening for Urban Forests

Last night was a special one for both me and American Forests. At the Association Media & Publishing’s 33rd Annual EXCEL Awards gala last night, we collected a Gold Award and an EXTRA! Award for our Urban Forests Case Studies: Challenges, Potential and Success in a Dozen Cities. The book, which we published last fall, […]

From the Land to the Sea

Forests are important for many, many reasons. This is something we can all agree on, I believe. Sometimes, though, it can get complicated conveying just how important some of the things they do are. For instance, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written the phrase “trees help stabilize soil and prevent erosion.” It’s […]

A Cautionary Tale of Birds and Their Trees

Which came first the bird or the tree? Well, I can’t really answer that question exactly without getting into a lot of complicated — and potentially controversial — details, but I can tell you that the two are intimately connected in ecosystems around the world. A study published on Friday in Science reveals that large-billed bird […]

Hit the Trail

Sometimes, amid the scientific reports, reforestation planning and general day-to-day activities, it’s easy to lose track of one very important aspect of the work we do: recreation! Forests aren’t just oxygen-producing, carbon-sequestering machines. They’re also places for play and relaxation, and tomorrow is a day designated just for that: It’s National Trails Day. Sponsored by […]

A Wild, Wild World

150 million acres of protected land & water 1,000 species of fish 700 species of birds 250 species of reptiles and amphibians 220 species of mammals This is the National Wildlife Refuge System, administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), by the numbers. As you may be able to gather from its name […]

The Spice of Life

Have you ever been in one of those subdivisions where every house looks the same? Or how about have you ever had to eat the same leftovers for several days in a row? In my experience, the first experience leaves me feeling a little creeped out, while the second can become tiresome. As the old […]