This is Your Brain on Nature


by Susan Laszewski
A walk in the parkIt’s not news that time in the great outdoors is good for your brain. We’ve written before about how exposure to nature is good for creative problem solving and mental health. But how can we determine how much of this relationship is causal when there could be other reasons for correlation? Well, a new study released from researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh published in the British Journal of Science has begun answering that question with some pretty high-tech tools. The 12 study participants were given portable electroencephalograms (EEGs) called Emotiv EPOC to wear under hats against ... (Read More)



Backyard Biodiversity


by Loose Leaf Team
native plant nurseryBy Josh DeLacey “Conservation is about waiting for a long time,” says Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. So, in a society that wants speed and short waits, Ashe explains, conservation too often gets neglected. Ashe was one of four plenary speakers at the 78th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, a week-long event coordinated and administered by the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI). Held in Arlington this week, the annual conference brings together environmentally-minded scientists, administrators, managers and educators from organizations across the country, including the U.S. Forest Se... (Read More)



Have You Hugged a Tree Lately?


by Loose Leaf Contributor
Northern Flicker That's the question our director of urban forests, Melinda Housholder, asks in a guest blog on the National Wildlife Federation's Wildlife Promises blog. To quote Melinda: When I did field work with the National Park Service a few years ago along the National Mall, I hugged trees on a daily basis. Well, by that I mean, when checking for the DBH (diameter at breast height) of specific trees, I often had my arms wrapped around trees. Not in a uniform, I am sure it looked like I was just a visitor to D.C., taking some time out of my day to embrace the tree for a moment of gratitude. And, well, why shouldn’t I? Why not indeed! ... (Read More)



A Menace to Maples


by Susan Laszewski
Asian longhorned beetleIf it wasn’t enough of a threat to America’s sweet tooth that climate change may affect maple syrup yields in the next 50 years, the sugar maple is facing another threat as well — an invasive pest. We’re wrapping up Invasive Species Awareness Week by shining the spotlight on a tiny pest with big consequences: the Asian longhorned beetle or ALB. ALB is a black beetle between one and one-and-a-half inches long, with white spots and — as its name implies — two antennae that are even longer than its body. In addition to recognizing the beetles themselves, you can also spot them by signs of occupation on the tree. In early autumn, f... (Read More)



Urban Forests and Ecosystem Services Research


by Melinda Housholder, Urban Forests Program Director
The Einstein Memorial on the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. Last week, I participated in a workshop titled “Urban Forestry: Toward an Ecosystem Services Research Agenda” at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. The workshop brought together more than 100 participants, and many more tuned-in via webinar. What a great turn out! With interesting presentations, discussions and networking opportunities, I was excited to participate and hone in on the workshop’s key objectives to: Explore the role of trees within the greater urban ecosystem and the linkages/trade-offs among different types of ecosystem services within this larger context. Review our current understanding... (Read More)