Author Archive: Michelle Werts


Fire on the Horizon

Earlier this month at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union, scientists presented new projections about wildfire activity over the next few decades — and it doesn’t look pretty. Using NASA satellite data and climate models, scientists estimate that in the next 30-50 years, we will see longer, stronger fire seasons across all regions […]

A Win for Wetlands

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it’s helped restore more than 2.6 million acres of wetlands habitat in the U.S. through its Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)! The program began 20 years ago as a way to bring people together to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on private and tribal lands. […]

A Petrified Site

Have you ever had a connection to an object that’s difficult to explain? Sitting on the mantle in my childhood home is a hunk of rock that on the surface is just a large, heavy, brownish thing. It resembles a trunk; it’s round and tall and polished to a high gloss — and I’ve loved […]

Heating Up

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas … and I may have to keep dreaming if the unusually warm temperatures of the past week continue into the rest of the month. And while I know that warm temperatures do not equal climate change evidence exactly, it does feel appropriate on a balmy December day — at […]

Sanctuary

Rain drips quietly through the thick canopy, as I walk through the old growth. The lovely behemoths that surround me are centuries older than I. They were here long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. They fill me with peace and wonder, stretching their foliage toward the heavens. I have found a sanctuary from the […]

Living Tributes

This Sunday is Veterans Day — a day when Americans take a moment to give thanks to all the brave men and women who have served in our nation’s military. This national day of tribute and thanks is held on November 11th every year because on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the […]

The Problem of Mary Jane

Marijuana. This fun-to-say little word comes loaded with controversy and strong opinions. And it appears that the longer controversy and debate surround it, the more our forests, streams and natural environs may be in danger. Last year, I talked about how researchers had discovered illegal marijuana plots in 67 national forests across 20 states, which […]

Fighting for Clean Water

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act (CWA), which is the federal law governing water pollution in the U.S. The enactment of this act was fraught with peril, as it was passed by the Senate in November 1971 and by the House in March 1972 only to be vetoed by President Richard […]

Forests, Snow and Floods

Maybe it’s because I grew up as a snowbunny, skiing the slopes of the Rocky Mountains during many a spring break, but one of my favorite “ecosystem functions” of forests is their impact on snow. When I accidently hugged that tree at age 12, I had no idea how grateful I should have been that […]

Hot, Thirsty Forests

When I think of the Southwest, I picture swirling sand, cacti and heat radiating off of pavement. And while it’s true that the Southwest has its fair share of arid deserts, it also is home to forests — for now. In a study released last week in Nature Climate Change, scientists reveal that the Southwest […]