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Lea Sloan, Vice President of Communications & Marketing

Lea Sloan, Boyd Matson, Jami Westerhold

Lea Sloan, Boyd Matson, Jami Westerhold

On a cool, sparkling day in September, I followed a National Arboretum guard’s jeep over the rolling hills and winding roads to the Arboretum’s Conifer Section, joined by American Forests director of Forest Restoration Programs, Jami Westerhold. We were there to shoot footage for an American Forests video about our Endangered Western Forests (EWF) initiative to raise awareness of the peril posed to Western forests by white pine blister rust and the epidemic of mountain pine beetles.

Following us was our “talent” — American Forests Board member, Boyd Matson — the host of the radio program National Geographic Weekend and contributor to National Geographic Traveler — who had generously agreed to be the on-camera face and voice-over for our spot. Bringing up the rear of our caravan were our director/cameraman, producer and crew. 

The footage will be edited together with film from the Greater Yellowstone area, where EWF is currently at work, and with some terrific footage of grizzlies. Grizzlies are at the heart of our story, as they are one of the very compelling creatures so deeply impacted by the plagues affecting whitebark pines, whose seeds are an essential source of nutrition for them.

But for the distant roar of traffic reminding us that we were still in the nation’s capital, it couldn’t have been a better place to be for a “workday.” Boyd had the narrative nailed and after a few short hours among the dawn redwoods and bald cypresses that provided a gorgeous, sun-filtered backdrop, we called it a wrap. 

Watch the video at To learn more about the EWF initiative, visit

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