Author Archive: Michelle Werts


Not Just for Children

I was feeling a bit whimsical the other night, so in honor of National Poetry Month I pulled out my old copies of The Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, immersing myself in the lyrical, satirical world of Shel’s creation. All of the funny bits were still there: the […]

The First National Forest

Most people know that Yellowstone was America’s first national park, established back in 1872, but less well-known is the fact that Yellowstone also claims the status as our first national forest, established on March 30, 1981. There’s a national forest named Yellowstone? Not anymore … but let’s start at the beginning. For much of the […]

ReLeaf by the Numbers

1,888,012 trees across 5,038 acres (or 5,038 football fields if that helps you picture the size) in 25 forests in 14 states and 5 countries equals 1 healthier planet This afternoon, American Forests announced our 2013 Global ReLeaf restoration projects. As you can glean from above, these 25 projects are planting 1.8 million trees to […]

Disappearance of the Monarch

What’s black and white and orange all over? Probably many things, but I’m thinking specifically of the monarch butterfly. Why? Because earlier this week, Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas announced that the wintering population of the monarch butterfly declined by 59 percent this winter. The monarch — which can’t be counted individually, but […]

The Sequestration and Conservation

A little more than a week ago, the long-dreaded budget sequestration began, which is forcing all federal agencies to make five percent budget cuts to all of their programs, activities, etc. And as we’ve all been seeing in the news, five percent might seem like a small number, but it can have big impacts. For […]

Revitalizing Los Angeles’ Backyard

For many Americans, spending time in a forest is a time-honored getaway: 42.5 million Americans or 15 percent of the U.S. population older than age six went camping in 2011. 67 percent of those campers camped in public campgrounds, like those of local, state and national parks and forests. Courtesy of the 2012 American Camper […]

Taking Baths in the Forest

Remember when yoga was just a craze? Now, it’s just a normal part of many people’s workout routines. Might another mind, body, spirit experience from Asia be on its way? Over the last few weeks, we’ve been noticing the buzz in the environmental world over the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, translated as forest bathing. We […]

Animals Gone Urban

One of the many benefits that urban forests provide is habitat for wildlife. But in keeping true to the stereotype of overcrowded cities, it appears that a few communities around the country are experiencing wildlife overpopulation — to somewhat detrimental results. In Kentucky, the residents of Hopkinsville are suffering a bird invasion. Millions of blackbirds […]

Roses: Sour Instead of Sweet?

For years, we’ve been told that nothing says “I love you” quite like a red rose — except maybe a diamond ring. But does that red rose love the environment? Survey says: Relationship complicated. The Society of American Florists reports that more than 85 percent of fresh-cut flowers in the U.S. are imported every year. […]

We Love Our Western Public Lands

Yesterday, Colorado College in Colorado Springs released its third annual “Conservation in the West” poll, which illuminates how much western residents value their public lands. Conducted as part of the college’s State of the Rockies project, the bipartisan poll of residents in six states (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and Montana) revealed that 91 […]