Category Archive: Blog


A Sand-filled Anniversary

By Lizzie Wasilewska Today is the anniversary of one of the most biologically and geologically unique parks in the U.S.: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. In addition to its famous desert dunes, Great Sand Dunes includes grasslands and wetlands; lakes, rivers and streams; tundra; and forests that spread from the desert’s edges to […]

Saving a Little, Getting a Lot

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 […]

Giving Butterflies a Boost

The world’s monarch butterflies now fit into an area smaller than four football fields. Last March, we told you about how pesticides used in Canada and the U.S. are killing the milkweed the monarchs need to survive their long journey. A new study published in Conservation Biology details how another cause has aided the pesticides […]

It’s Our Party!

By Michelle Werts It’s one of those eternal questions: Is a birthday a time for celebrating the past or for looking with hope to the future? Then again, why can’t it be a little bit of both? Today, American Forests turns 138. We were born in Chicago thanks to Dr. John Aston Warder, a medical […]

Making Sense of the Weather of 2012

New research published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society is helping to determine the role that climate change may have played in a number of 2012’s most extreme weather events. Seventy-eight meteorologists, working in several teams, analyzed the likelihood of the weather events under different models: those representing current levels of atmospheric greenhouse […]

The Need for Urban Parks

By Michelle Werts I’m one of those people who remember very little of their childhoods. I have vague impressions of events and activities, but very little that is concrete. Among those “little” things, though, of which I have a crystal-clear memory are my childhood parks and playgrounds. I can picture the grove of trees where […]

Calculating Your Green Home

Last 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 […]

Community ReLeaf in Asbury Park

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 […]

Recovering Reds

By Michelle Werts Two new studies reveal good news for two species of “red” trees: the eastern redcedar and the red spruce. And the good news is actually tied to old news: the 40-plus-year-old Clean Air Act. In 1970, Congress established the Clean Air Act to address the unsightly, unhealthy pollution and smog plaguing America’s […]

California Dreamin’ of Clean Air

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 […]