Walk to School and Walk for Health

by Susan Laszewski
Walking to school

Of course, there are many reasons why it’s not feasible for everyone to let their child walk to school. But, if you do live in an area where your kids might be able to skip the school bus, just think about some of the many benefits they, the rest of your family and your community stand to gain: exercise, a sense of community, reduced air pollution and expense by saving the car trip to school. And, of course, a topic dear to our hearts here at American Forests — the many benefits to children of being outside in nature, including the nature that grows along the streets and sidewalks on the way to school. Research has shown that:

... (Read More)

Getting Our Hands Dirty

by American Forests
Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyo.

By Michelle Werts

If you’re a regular reader here on Loose Leaf, you know that our forests and ecosystems, while very good self-regulators, sometimes need a helping hand — and a helping hand is what they’re going to get en masse tomorrow.

Tomorrow is National Public Lands Day, the largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands each year. On this, the 20th anniversary of the event, more than 2,000 projects are registered across the country. And it just so happens that American Forests is going to be out there doing our part, too.

First, we’re co-hosting a volunteer tree planting in ... (Read More)

Saving a Little, Getting a Lot

by American Forests
Sarayaku, Ecuador

By Michelle Werts

How’s this for a bargain: By protecting 17 percent of the world’s land, we can preserve 67 percent of the world’s plant species. Not such a bad return on investment, eh?

A new study published last week in Science revealed that two goals set by the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity in 2010 (protecting 17 percent of the world’s land and protecting 60 percent of the world’s flora) could actually be accomplished simultaneously. The scientists pinpointed Central America, Ecuador, the Caribbean and Taiwan as key locales for biological diversity, with China, the Middle East and ... (Read More)

The Need for Urban Parks

by American Forests
Baseball in the Park

By Michelle Werts

I can picture the grove of trees where my friends and I hid away, the field where we played Red Rover, the monkey bars I conquered, the drinking fountain shaded by a forested path. If those places didn’t exist, I may not have had my front two teeth knocked, but my childhood also would not have been the same.

I’m guessing that many of you have similar memories of special parks and playgrounds. Imagine how you would feel if that place had never existed. What if you lived in a blighted urban area with no park or if your city or town ran out of money to keep your park clean and safe? I... (Read More)

Calculating Your Green Home

by Susan Laszewski
Stormwater runoff

But if you’re a homeowner, you can also make a difference right now, where you live, by employing green infrastructure tactics on your own property. Green infrastructure isn’t just for public works. In fact, trees and plants on private property are an important part of the urban forest.

If you enjoy learning about the environmental impacts and benefits of your yard, you don’t have to stop at stormwater runoff. Check out our carbon calculator to learn what your home’s carbon footprint is and how many trees you could plant to offset it. And if you don’t have the space or means for planting new trees, we’ve got you ... (Read More)