Father of Landscape Architecture and Urban Parks


by Loose Leaf Team
A portrait of Frederick Law Olmsted by John Singer SargentBy Michelle Werts Last week, we celebrated the birthday of the “Father of National Parks.” Today, we’re recognizing another famous father. Frederick Law Olmsted, aka “Father of Landscape Architecture” and creator of many of America’s famous urban parks, was born on this date in 1822. During a century in which America was rapidly expanding and becoming more urban, Olmsted recognized the importance of green spaces for not only their beauty, but also for how they could help reduce stress and allow people a quiet escape from the demands of a busy world. As a result, some of today’s largest cities have magnificent parks ei... (Read More)



Keeping Sewage Out of Our Water


by Melinda Housholder, Urban Forests Program Director
Combined sewer overflow on the Woonasquatucket River in Providence, Rhode IslandSewage in our rivers? Yuck! I was really disturbed when I learned a few years ago about combined sewer systems — where sewage and rainwater is collected in one pipe system — and just how many cities have these. Although no longer built into new communities, more than 770 older cities still use their combined sewer that was built back in the day, including my own city of Washington, D.C. Combined sewers may have once been thought to be convenient for urban landscapes, as they collect the wastewater from your toilets, the wastewater from industrial sites and the water that drains from rooftops and roads after rainfall (called stormwa... (Read More)



Urban Forests Go to the Hill


by Melinda Housholder, Urban Forests Program Director
Airplane Earlier this month, American Forests joined forces with other members of the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition (SUFC) and took to Capitol Hill to speak up for urban forests across the country. As part of the SUFC annual “fly-in,” constituents from all over the country met up in D.C. to talk with their political representatives about their urban forests. Together, we held more than 40 meetings on the Hill, having discussions with staffers and sometimes even the congressional members themselves. Throughout the fly-in, I went with a constituent from Minnesota to visit four different Minnesota offices. We met with staff from the o... (Read More)



Protecting Urban Forests


by Scott Steen, President & CEO
The National Mall and U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.It is barely March, and throughout Washington, trees are budding. If you are not from here you may not realize it, but our nation’s capital is a city filled with trees of tremendous variety, and spring here bursts forth in a riot of colors and sweet smells (and major tree pollen!). City trees, of course, have enormous benefits beyond their physical beauty. They clean the air, cool the climate, control stormwater runoff, prevent soil erosion and lower energy costs. Studies show that they also reduce stress in city dwellers, lower crime, increase property values and reduce illness. This week, more than 40 members of the Sustainable ... (Read More)



Forests Create Vibrant Cities


by Melinda Housholder, Urban Forests Program Director
Chicago, Illinois“At the root of every vibrant city is an urban forest.” This simple statement from the Vibrant Cities & Urban Forests National Call to Action speaks volumes to the importance of urban forests. Especially as urbanization continues to expand throughout our country, it will become increasingly important to understand just how crucial urban forests are to creating and maintaining vibrant cities. I find it fascinating that while only about three percent of the contiguous U.S. is considered urban, it is estimated that about 80 percent of our population (roughly 220 million Americans) lives in this urban area! And, over the next sever... (Read More)