Category Archive: Blog


The Race to Save California’s Oaks

The clock is ticking for oaks in northern California. The 2012 U.S. Forest Service aerial survey reveals that cases of sudden oak death (SOD) — caused by the pathogen p. ramorum — have increased tenfold in the last year. The disease is fatal for tanoaks and a number of oak species and also is damaging […]

Fighting for Clean Water

By Michelle Werts Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act (CWA), which is the federal law governing water pollution in the U.S. The enactment of this act was fraught with peril, as it was passed by the Senate in November 1971 and by the House in March 1972 only to be vetoed […]

Hiking in the Hoyt

Yesterday, I paid a visit to the Hoyt Arboretum in Portland, Oregon, and I want to share my experience and a few photos with you because I discovered that whether you’re an avid outdoorsman or a city dweller, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the Hoyt Arboretum.

Fall Fun

I have very fond memories of raking leaves as a child. Growing up in the suburbs, we were lucky to have a big backyard. But, in the fall, in the midst of planning our Halloween costumes and carving our pumpkins, my sisters and I would always get tasked with raking the leaves. Yet, what I […]

No Child Left Inside

Happy Earth Science Week! Today marks day two of this annual international event, which the American Geosciences Institute has organized since October 1998. Each year, the event addresses the broader goal of increasing public understanding and appreciation of earth sciences and encouraging stewardship of the Earth, and this year will be no different. Throughout the […]

Protecting Big Cacti

More than 61 years before Saguaro National Park was created, the area was recognized as a national monument. Herbert Hoover approved this designation on March 1, 1933, in an effort to protect the saguaro cactus, which is a symbol of the Southwest and the Sonoran Desert. This decision marked the first time a national monument […]

Listening to the Numbers

With last week’s release of the fall update to the National Register of Big Trees, there has been a lot of talk around American Forests lately about setting and breaking records. But not all records are ones to celebrate. July made the news this year as the hottest month on record in the United States. […]

Finding Foliage from Coast to Coast

Growing up in New England, I feel lucky that I got to experience both impeccable fall weather and what I consider to be the most beautiful phenomena in nature: the leaves changing colors. I remember going on weekend hiking trips with my family where all we did was look at the trees.  Things are quite […]

Forests, Snow and Floods

By Michelle Werts Maybe it’s because I grew up as a snowbunny, skiing the slopes of the Rocky Mountains during many a spring break, but one of my favorite “ecosystem functions” of forests is their impact on snow. When I accidently hugged that tree at age 12, I had no idea how grateful I should […]

The Enormity of Life

Colossal. Gigantic. Immense. Astronomical. Words seem small next to some of our nation’s biggest trees. Standing at the foot of a huge tree, the enormity of life can make your head spin. Those sudden flashes of understanding of our own smallness — of seeing ourselves as just a blip on the timeline of life — […]