The Survivor Tree


by Melinda Housholder, Urban Forests Program Director
Oklahoma City Survivor TreeA week ago, I stood in front of “The Survivor Tree” at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing, humbled by the strength of this tree that so accurately reflects the courage and spirit of the Oklahoma City community. Today, as I hear stories and see images of the destruction caused by the tornado just four days after I left, my heart is saddened, and my thoughts are with those who must soon start to face the journey of recovery. Tearing through 17 miles of central Oklahoma and leveling hundreds of homes on Monday, the F5 tornado spanned 1.3 miles and packed winds that topped 200 mph. As the search continues for those who are missing, I’... (Read More)



A River Runs Through It


by Loose Leaf Team
Anacostia River in Washington, D.C.By Michelle Werts A few years ago, a friend and I decided to take an impromptu canoeing trip along the Potomac River. It was a lovely experience … until I attempted to climb out of the canoe and instead of finding myself on a dry dock, I found myself halfway submerged in the murky waters of the Potomac. After my laughter at my sheer clumsiness subsided, my next thought was “I need a shower and may need to burn these clothes” because anyone who lives in the D.C. area knows that the waters of the local Potomac and Anacostia Rivers are not the most sanitary places around. An innovative new program headed by the Environmental Protectio... (Read More)



The Energy Savings of Trees


by Loose Leaf Team
Illustration of how to properly place trees to save energyBy Michelle Werts Last week, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced a new act to Congress: The Residential Energy and Economic Savings (TREES) Act. The legislation, co-sponsored by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), focuses on a very specific ecological service provided by urban forests: energy savings. The TREES Act would set up a grant program to help electric utilities establish tree planting programs designed to reduce residential energy demands. The science behind this idea is pretty clear. According to research, just three large trees planted at a proper distance around your home —... (Read More)



Announcing Community ReLeaf


by Melinda Housholder, Urban Forests Program Director
Atlanta, Ga.I am excited to announce that American Forests is launching a new urban forest program called Community ReLeaf. American Forests Community ReLeaf will directly work with urban communities to first assess and then restore their forests. This work will help develop new information and research about the relevance and importance of urban forests locally and nationally. Reaching geographically distributed communities across the country, American Forests aims to bring national attention to the value of our urban forests and the importance of strategic urban forest restoration to community well-being and ecological health. Thanks to a genero... (Read More)



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)