Category Archive: Blog


Fun in the Forest

By Katrina Marland So far this Earth Month, we’ve been looking at a lot of the great benefits that forests provide, from mitigating climate change to providing homes for wildlife and managing water flow in our cities. But today, let’s look at a completely different thing that forests provide for us: Fun! Forests are like […]

Happy Earth Day!

By Katrina Marland & Michelle Werts What does Earth Day mean to you? Maybe it offers an opportunity to volunteer in your community, cleaning a local park or sprucing up the landscaping outside of a school or office building. Or maybe Earth Day is another day to get outside and enjoy our beautiful planet on […]

Small But Mighty

By Michelle Werts When I first heard of American Forests’ National Big Tree Program, I instantly envisioned towering, giant trees — the kind that hurt your neck when you try to take in all their grandeur. But, my awe of those redwoods and sequoias was soon replaced by a love for the “tiny titans.” As […]

Father of National Parks

By Katrina Marland The conservation movement has been fortunate enough to have a number of truly wonderful figures over the years. Few of these people, however, are as recognizable a name as John Muir. This man was a naturalist, a writer, an adventurer and above all an advocate for wilderness. His work was so influential […]

Protecting Forests: On the Ground and in Congress

This week, Congress is busy with hearings and debate on a number of land-use bills, quite a few of which impact our forests. Yesterday, I attended a House Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing to discuss the Land Acquisition to Cut National Debt Act (or LAND Act). Though cutting the national debt is a topic that concerns […]

Keeping Sewage Out of Our Water

Sewage in our rivers? Yuck! I was really disturbed when I learned a few years ago about combined sewer systems — where sewage and rainwater is collected in one pipe system — and just how many cities have these. Although no longer built into new communities, more than 770 older cities still use their combined […]

At Home in the Forest

By Michelle Werts When you read the words forests and wildlife, I’m sure the first visions that pop into your head are pictures of deer foraging in the understory, squirrels running up trunks and birds flitting in the canopy. Forests, though, aren’t home just to our mammalian and avian friends. What would your reaction be […]

Champions Lost

By Katrina Marland When the National Register of Big Trees is released, it is always exciting. There are new species and new champions, often with amazing proportions and incredible stories. Unfortunately, this often means that other champion trees have lost their crowns — usually a bitter pill to swallow for those involved in achieving it […]

Pigskin Versus White Oak

By Michelle Werts American football first emerged on the sports scene about 140 years ago, around the same time that Virginia Tech was being founded in Blacksburg, Virginia. More than 200 years prior to those moments — back in the same century that America’s first permanent English settlement, Jamestown, was being established — some white […]

Protecting the Environment: Then and Now

This Earth Month, let’s take a look back and see how environmental politics have changed since the first Earth Day, 42 years ago. 1970 was a monumental year for the environmental movement. In addition to the first Earth Day, Congress also authorized the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the President’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and […]