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Washington, D.C.

Michelle Werts, Director of Communications

Michelle Werts accepting the EXCEL Gold Award on behalf of American Forests.

Michelle Werts (center) accepting the EXCEL Gold Award on behalf of American Forests. Credit: Scavone Photography.

In June, some colleagues and I attended the Association Media & Publishing’s 33rd Annual EXCEL Awards gala to accept a Gold Award and aptly named EXTRA! Award — one of only three awarded despite almost 1,000 EXCEL Award entrants — for our book “Urban Forests Case Studies: Challenges, Potential and Success in a Dozen Cities.” The book, which we published last fall, was a labor of love that celebrates and explores one of our core focus areas: urban forests.

Of all of the issues we tackle, an urban forest is one of the gnarliest to comprehend. People often ask “What forest?” since urban forests don’t always resemble idyllic, rural forests and landscapes. But they are there, comprised of that tree in the median, the plants in your front yard, the river that cuts through the city, the parkland where children play. An urban forest consists of all of those nature elements you come across in the city every day — the ones you may not even register.

"Urban Forests Case Studies" cover

“Urban Forests Case Studies” cover. Credit: FHI 360.

And while they may be easy to overlook on a daily basis, these forests can only exist with a helping hand, which is what “Urban Forests Case Studies” celebrates. It acknowledges the men, women, governments and organizations that have stepped up to make sure urban forests are healthy and working for all of the people who rely on them. Ultimately, we share these awards with them, the individuals in the 12 featured cities who selflessly gave their time and expertise to this book. Also, this book and award wouldn’t exist without the support and funding of our partner, the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban & Community Forestry Program. We are pleased and excited to share this award with them as well.

Read the award-winning book at

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