Making Their Own Kind of Music


by Susan Laszewski
Vermilion flycatcherThough originating on different sides of the Atlantic, two studies released this month both underscore the complexities of wildlife adaptation to the urbanization of their habitats. I’m sure I’m not the only one who sometimes sets my alarm clock’s ring tone to “birdsong” for a soothing start to the day. But birdsong is much more than calming and beautiful sounds. Songbirds sing to attract mates, to define their territory and even to defend themselves against threats. But what about urban songbirds? How do they compete with the noise of the city? Previous studies have shown different frequencies between urban birdsong and birds... (Read More)



Partnering for Healthier Cities


by Melinda Housholder, Urban Forests Program Director
Sacramento Convention Center Last week, I attended the 2012 Partners in Community Forestry National Conference in Sacramento, Calif. This conference is all about making connections — including connecting with the community forestry network and sharing information about what is happening with community forestry around the country. With more than 500 attendees — ranging from urban foresters, arborists and utilities to nonprofits, state and federal governments and even a mayor — there was a lot to learn and a lot to share. To start off the conference, Dr. Dave Nowak, project leader at the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station and a member of the America... (Read More)



Transforming Cities With Trees


by Scott Steen, President & CEO
Detroit's New Center. Credit: Dig Downtown DetroitToday, I am excited to share the results of a year-long initiative with you. Last fall, American Forests began a project in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry program to conduct research on and spread awareness of the amazing benefits of urban forests. Urban forests are ecosystems composed of trees and other vegetation that provide cities and municipalities with environmental, economic and social benefits. They include street and yard trees, vegetation within parks and along public rights of way, water systems, fish and wildlife. As part of this project, we looked at 12 remarkable cities to garner les... (Read More)



Counting Their Losses


by Alex Cimon
Pine tree blocking a street in BostonIn the wake of Hurricane Sandy, assessing the damage has become a priority. After a storm in which millions of people lost power and the streets of New York and New Jersey were shut down, it is clear that much of the East Coast has seen significant destruction. It can be difficult to quantify the losses, as many cities are continuing relief efforts. But arborists and urban foresters are beginning to tally the number of fallen trees and evaluate their respective city’s position. Falling trees are one of the major dangers facing urban and suburban areas during a natural disaster. You have probably heard stories of trees damaging the in... (Read More)



A Golden Day for New Mexico


by Susan Laszewski
Fall in the bosque.Last Thursday was a good day for New Mexico. On that day, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar dedicated the 559th and 560th units of the National Wildlife Refuge System, both in New Mexico. Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, meaning Valley of Gold, will indeed bring riches to New Mexico. These 390 acres are one of only a handful of urban national wildlife refuges in the country and the first in the Southwest. The refuge’s location just five miles from downtown Albuquerque puts it within a half hour’s drive of half of New Mexico’s population. From this prime location, Valle de Oro will provide opportunities for outdoor play a... (Read More)