Calculating Your Green Home


by Susan Laszewski
Stormwater runoffLast month, we joined our friends, American Rivers, in helping to spread the news of the importance of green infrastructure and encourage the EPA to update its approach to managing stormwater runoff. Green infrastructure, which is part of the urban forest, captures rainwater and allows it to be absorbed into trees, roots and soil, rather than running off paved surfaces, picking up pollution and sediment on its way to waterways. Many of you helped work to make a difference by telling your representatives to put pressure on the EPA to modernize their approach to stormwater. But if you’re a homeowner, you can also make a difference right no... (Read More)



Community ReLeaf in Asbury Park


by Melinda Housholder, Urban Forests Program Director
A rain garden developed by the Asbury Park Environmental Shade Tree Commission in Asbury Park, N.J. A few weeks ago, I went on a site visit to Asbury Park, N.J. Nope, not to visit the Stone Pony, one of the world’s best-known music venues and a favorite hot spot for visits by Bruce Springsteen. Even better, I was there to visit the trees. Asbury Park is one of five inaugural Community ReLeaf project sites, which is why I found myself on my way to New Jersey. On my first day, I met with Tom Pivinski with the Asbury Park Environmental Shade Tree Commission and Lisa Simms with the New Jersey Tree Foundation to discuss the area’s urban forest and our Community ReLeaf project, which is assessing the urban forest in a number of ways, i... (Read More)



California Dreamin’ of Clean Air


by Susan Laszewski
Pasadena highway Taking deep breaths can help relieve stress, but depending on where you live, the air you breathe may lead to other health problems. A new study by a team of MIT researchers has found that air pollution in the U.S. contributes to more than 200,000 premature deaths each year. The researchers tracked ground-level emissions from six different sectors, including industrial, residential and vehicular emissions. Their findings, published in Atmospheric Environment, show emissions from ground transportation to have the greatest impact on health, causing 53,000 early deaths each year. The team also did a state-by-state analysis and found Ca... (Read More)



Showing Support for Clean Water


by Susan Laszewski
Stormwater flows onto a street From basement backups to beach closures, polluted runoff can have big costs for communities. In 2011, polluted runoff caused 47 percent of beach closing and advisory days. A study of 28 popular, yet polluted, beaches in Southern California calculated that swimmers suffered an estimated 1.5 million gastrointestinal illnesses, resulting in an economic loss of between $21 million and $51 million every year. When it rains in cities or suburban areas with lots of roads and rooftops, rainwater is unable to soak into the ground. Instead, it begins to rapidly accumulate and flows quickly along the surface, where it picks up sediment, pestic... (Read More)



Community ReLeaf in Detroit


by Amanda Tai
Meeting in Rouge Park with Davey Resources Group, the Greening of Detroit, and the Friends of Rouge Park Last week, Melinda Housholder and I, aka American Forests’ urban forest team, traveled to Detroit, Mich., the site of one of the Community ReLeaf 2013 projects. We had the opportunity to meet a lot of folks working on greening initiatives in Detroit and saw a lot of the city. It was a very interesting time to visit the city, being in the midst of its bankruptcy. A few neighborhoods we drove past were well-maintained with beautifully landscaped traffic islands, but the majority of what we saw was abandoned houses and buildings with boarded-up windows. Many of the abandoned neighborhoods were only a short distance from Rouge Park, our ... (Read More)