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Listeners Journey into the Woods with Scientists via Forestcast

From bright green insects that hitchhiked to the United States in packing material to a tiny insect that literally sucks the life out of hemlock trees, insects, even catastrophically damaging ones, are fascinating. A new podcast brings captivating stories about USDA Forest Service science to a whole new audience via an intimate, and popular, new medium.

For the last decade, podcasts have been a new media juggernaut. Today, one in three Americans age 12 and over (104 million) are consuming podcasts regularly. And, in 2020, for the first time, National Public Radio will make more money from podcasts than from its radio programming. The Northern Research Station’s Communication and Science Delivery team developed a new product that taps into this audience. “Forestcast,” a new podcast developed by the Communication and Science Delivery team in collaboration with Michigan State University, launched in February with “Balance & Barrier,” a six-part deep dive into nonnative forest pests in the Northeast and Midwest. Host Jonathan Yales takes listeners into the woods to learn about devastating forest pests, and to share the stories of the USDA Forest Service scientists who are contending with forest invasion. In May, “Forestcast” also released a special episode, “A Window of Resurgence for Red Spruce,” that highlighted the story of the tree species that symbolized the crisis of acid rain but that 50 years later surprised scientists by suddenly rebounding. “Forestcast” has over 30 five-star reviews on Apple Podcasts, and each episode has been in the top 50 percent of worldwide podcast downloads, with the podcast having over 7,000 downloads. “Forestcast” demonstrates the Northern Research Station’s commitment to sharing the fascinating human stories behind Forest Service research.



External Partners

  • Jonathan Yales, Michigan State University