and his sons, Jared and Jake, co-founded the Champion Tree Project (www.championtreeproject.org), which locates and clones the largest known specimens of the country's trees. Milarch's family has been in the shade tree farming business for generations, but in the 1980s and 1990s started seeing trouble – trees dying on the farm, not far from Traverse City. “We're starting to feel the effects of pumping billions of tons of poisons into our air and water,” he says. “Everywhere I look in America at our forests, I see real trouble.” Milarch theorizes that by cloning champion trees, which have shown the ability to thrive in tough conditions, he can help save America's great forests.

WHERE BORN: "Grace Hospital in Detroit"

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: "First is my father, Edward Milarch. He's brilliant but he has common sense, and most geniuses I've known do not have common sense. Second after that is George Washington. He was our first true environmentalist. He warned and wrote about deforestation. Third, Bill McDonough, author of ‘Cradle to Cradle,' the most profound, positive book I have ever read. He has the solutions to our environmental problems if we are wise enough to heed him."

LAST BOOK READ: "'Collapse,' by Jared Diamond. He has traced and documented the collapse of every great civilization, and every single collapse involves deforestation."

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: "If I've heard ‘visionary' I've heard it a million times. My family calls me a tree evangelist."

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: "We're the tip of the spear of tree geneticists. We're the leaders and educators about the need to be doing what we're doing. We're building archival genetic laboratories. We've been asked to do the Ming dynasty trees in China and the Sherwood Forest oaks in England. And we've successfully reproduced the oldest living thing on Earth, a bristlecone pine tree in California that is 4,780 years old."

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: "An ultrasound ring counter for trees. It uses mirrors and ultrasound to penetrate the trunks of the world's oldest trees and count the rings."

FAVORITE PLACE: "Probably the redwood forests of northern California."

FAVORITE HOBBY: "I don't have one. I'm a workaholic. I work 16 hours a day, 365 days a year."

FAVORITE FOOD: "Alaskan king crab."

MY HIDDEN TALENT: "I have an uncanny way with horses. For whatever reason I was blessed with that gift."

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: "He caused us to stop and think and take action."