Looking back over 2010

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dbhguru
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Looking back over 2010

Post by dbhguru » Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:02 pm

ENTS,

Well, it is that time of year again. We’re in December and some of us are ready to look back and assess our credits. The major ones are obvious, but still warrant discussion. Also, do we have debits? If so, we should discuss them also. In what follows, my view is just that – my view. I hold no privileged position or monopoly in ENTS on wisdom or prescience. So, everyone, please feel free to agree, disagree, add, or subtract to what follows.

2010 CREDITS

In terms of our credits, here are the biggies, IMHO. Though I number them for reference, the numbers are not intended as a ranking.

1. Reorganizing the ENTS website. Ed gets major kudos on this one. The website is much improved and functional.
2. Implementing the BBS. Again, Ed gets kudos. The BBS offers many, many advantages over the old listserve. I’ll discuss the BBS in greater depth in a future post.
3. The Bulletin of the Eastern Native Tree Society is the primary scientific voice of ENTS. Don Bragg is tops as its editor.
4. Major progress on an ENTS-wide Internet database. When it is fully implemented, we can then break out the champagne. But substantial progress has been made.
5. The rise of a European voice. I can’t say enough good things about this breakthrough. Hooray for Kouta and Jeroen. Now we have two more. To have competent tree measurers reporting from other continents is really heady.
6. First major WNTS rendezvous.
7. Establishing/strengthening our formal connections with federal and state properties with significant forests:

a. Strengthening the James Madison Montpelier connection,
b. Opening the door to working with Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest
c. Establishing formal connections with Morristown National Historic Park

8. Sixth Conference in the Forest Summit Lecture Series that included major ENTS involvement.
9. ENTS role in the Massachusetts DCR’s Forest Futures Visioning Process.
10. Groundwork for a video on tree measuring.
11. Gaining new, productive members such as Mike Kowalski in New Bruinswick
12. ENTS appearance on Facebook. I’ll let Ed deal with this one in more depth.
13. Josh Kelly’s confirmation of the tallest native hardwood in the United States. That is a heck of a first.
14. Detailed site trip reports.
15. Confirmation of 116 white pines in MTSF breaking the 150-foot height threshold, moving Mohawk into first position in the Northeast – at least temporarily. Okay, I'm tooting my own horn a little on this one.
16. Beginning of a major ENTS paper on the Macroscope 25.
17. Pushing the envelope on Dendromorphometry.
18. Rejuvenation of interest in big tree/tall tree lists. This rejuvenation is reflected in what Eli Dickerson, Turner Sharp, and others are doing.


The above list of ENTS credits warrants further discussion, which I’ll pass to others to begin. However, as mentioned, we should face up to our debits. Do I see any? Well, I think we botched the big-tree/tall-tree listing mission in 2010. This should be our bread and butter. Many folks out there in cyberspace can wax eloquent about the beauty of trees, their spiritual value, etc. but the individuals and groups who can maintain serious tree dimension lists with the entries measured to scientific precision are darn few. We need to reinvigorate our special lists and maintain them manually until we get the online database operational. Eli, Turner, Doug, etc. have made some serious moves toward getting lists updated. Basically, they saved us from going dead in the water. They are to be congratulated, but as an organization, we’ve got a long way to go.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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edfrank
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Re: Looking back over 2010

Post by edfrank » Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:32 pm

Bob,

I must disagree with your comment in the last paragraph:
However, as mentioned, we should face up to our debits. Do I see any? Well, I think we botched the big-tree/tall-tree listing mission in 2010. This should be our bread and butter. Many folks out there in cyberspace can wax eloquent about the beauty of trees, their spiritual value, etc. but the individuals and groups who can maintain serious tree dimension lists with the entries measured to scientific precision are darn few. We need to reinvigorate our special lists and maintain them manually until we get the online database operational.
Far from being a botched big tree/tall tree listing year, I think we did better than we have for years. We have not prepared any big tree listings as such since 2003. This year Turner compiled one for WV and Eli Dickerson developed one for the Atlanta Area. People have been out and measuring. I will hold up the number of measurement trips produced this year to that of any other year. All of the major tree measurer's posted trip reports and measurements this year and we added several new people, such as Steve Hallow. Others became more active. The posts from Will have been down a little, but he has posted several recently and has been involved in other projects. I do miss the prolific posts from Jess Riddle, but those should pick up again once he is out of school. I read every post made to the list and we are not down in measuring trips.

I believe the aesthetic and spiritual efforts explorations have enhanced our mission and encouraged more people to get involved in measurement. I haven't posted much, but I added trip reports from the Allegheny River Islands and a couple of other sites and I have been involved in other aspects of the organization this year.

For movement toward our mission, Mitch Galehouse has produced a working web based interface for entering tree measurement data that is in the final phases of testing. That was to my mind the primary goal to achieve in the past year and it is all but accomplished. So I strongly disagree with your assessment that it has been a down year for measurement.

Ed Frank

.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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dbhguru
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Re: Looking back over 2010

Post by dbhguru » Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:21 pm

Ed,

I'm not saying that we haven't done anything this past year or that there aren't any new stars in terms of adding new data, but how long have we been at the measuring game? I look at the Peakbaggers website and am jealous of the depth of coverage that they have achieved. I can't help wishing we were a little farther along. Sure Turner, Eli, Jess, Will, Steve, Randy, Dale, Larry, John, etc., etc., etc. are great. That goes without saying. All the regular tree measurers are great - the best in the business, but I can't help wishing we were further along in terms of attracting new tree measurers. Maybe the reach of tree-measuring as a serious interest is very limited, and that is what I have to accept.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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edfrank
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Re: Looking back over 2010

Post by edfrank » Tue Dec 07, 2010 11:36 pm

Bob,

There is quite a bit of difference between measuring trees and mountains. I bet we have measured many more trees than Peak Baggers have measured mountains. Second most of the mountain measurements can be done making calculations off of topography data and are not actually being measured. It is apples to tractors. Measuring trees is more time consuming and can't be done remotely. it involves many different species of trees. Some of the concepts are similar, but overall the two processes are more different than they are similar.

We are attracting new measurers, but perhaps not as fast as we would like. Perhaps there is a tipping point at which time there will be a flurry of new measurers. In spite of our web presence, I think most people interested in trees are unaware of much of what we are doing, or only knows of it casually. As we increase out web presence, and start to see more articles related to our measurement mission published, as we see more videos of measurement philosophy and techniques online or broadcast, we will attract more people. If we get these video clips on the American Forest website it will attract more people interested in measuring trees.

We need to see what we can do to reach potential audiences in other outdoor enthusiasts, Geocachers, tree climbers, etc. We can create a subset of the measurement guidelines targeting tree climbers. We can somehow make looking for tall trees as a similar activity to finding hidden caches. I am not sure how we can do this, but maybe others will have ideas.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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Steve Galehouse
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Re: Looking back over 2010

Post by Steve Galehouse » Wed Dec 08, 2010 12:15 am

Ed, Bob-

I've never understood why tree-ing isn't as popular as birding---perhaps it is the challenge of species ID, but I've never run into another person during a woods excursion that was looking to study trees. I always mention to people I encounter that I am measuring trees to record the forests before they are gone, but I'm afraid most react as though I'm an eccentric. I've considered contacting local papers to possibly get a "public interest'' article published regarding tree finds, but I'm not sure this is the direction ENTS should take.

Steve
every plant is native somewhere

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dbhguru
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Re: Looking back over 2010

Post by dbhguru » Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:12 am

Ed,

Well, true, a tree isn't a mountain. The physical activity of the peak bagger is in the climbing of a mountain and the intellectual activity in knowing where that mountain stands in comparison to others and in various elevational criteria or thresholds. It is true that the peak bagger doesn't measure mountains in the sense of surveying, but it is most important for each and every one of them to know the elevations, whether the numbers come off a map or are surveyed. The interest in mountain comparisons and in having absolutely accurate numbers is a distinguishing characteristic of the peak baggers as is their dedication to collecting and arraying those numbers in highly efficient forms. In recent years, they've gone well past simple elevations into the esoteric arena of prominence and spire theory. I've watched their progress over the years. It has been remarkable and served as an inspiration.

Steve makes observations that I think the rest of us have shared many times. Being in the forest measuring trees is seen by many, if not most,woods walkers as an eccentric interest at best, and pointless at worst. Huh, why would you want to know that? Are you a forester? This is a question I have been asked many times before by woods walkers. It isn't necessary to think of these reactions demonstrated by others when they see trees being measured as good or bad, just what is.

However, it would appear that if we want our interest to attract more participants to eventually put us into a position of having ample coverage of eastern states, we're going to need to spend more time at the drawing board crafting a recruitment strategy. Maybe this needs to a New Years ENTS resolution. Now, if I think the numbers of serious tree measurers in North America is limited, all I need to think of is Kouta and Jeroen - a whole continent covered by two intrepid tree measurers. I feel humbled.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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James Parton
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Re: Looking back over 2010

Post by James Parton » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:50 am

Bob,

I am hoping to get some good people for ENTS through the druid groups I have became involved with over the last three months. I have found some that are genuinely interested in trees, I feel all druids should be. Hopefully among the druids I can find at least a few interested in tree measuring. I have " marketed " ENTS pretty heavily on OBOD and NOD. However, I have been worried a bit that some ENTS here may not want to accept the concept of druidry here or the druids themselves because they don't understand what druidry is or think it is just fallacy. I feel druidry can add to ENTS and many druids seem to be quite intellegent people. And that could add up to a good tree measurer or two.

And mentioning measuring I gotta get out and measure some trees. One grove I am looking at is waiting for hunting season to end. ENTS already has one measuring druid. ME!
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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Jenny
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Re: Looking back over 2010

Post by Jenny » Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:19 pm

Steve,

I really wish I ran into someone looking at the trees in the various NYC parks. I learn a lot about bird species from birders in Central park, but never "tree-ers". And it's hell identifying because of all the ornamentals, etc.

The other day I was taking pictures of bark and someone asked "Is there something in there?" I said "a tree" and he said "oh" and moved on. I even tell people about the trees that I know and they don't really care. But no trees=very few birds, so they should!

Tree planting has become popular in NYC, but not tree id and measuring and keeping indices of park tree species (as far as I know).

Obviously, if looking at and identifying trees were more popular, there would be more people making important contributions.

NYC does not have important big/tall trees, but measurement data on urban trees seems important.

I plan on watching through the winter to see in which trees birds search for insects and berries, so I'll do both.

Sorry for getting pretty far away from the original topic...

Jenny

Pic: juvenile red-tailed hawk on, is it a horse chestnut?
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Steve Galehouse
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Re: Looking back over 2010

Post by Steve Galehouse » Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:40 pm

Bob-

I was thinking about your comment
However, it would appear that if we want our interest to attract more participants to eventually put us into a position of having ample coverage of eastern states, we're going to need to spend more time at the drawing board crafting a recruitment strategy.
In some parts of the East and Midwest hiking clubs, and geocaching clubs are popular----I could certainly envision a tree-themed hike, leading to trees of significant size or beauty, or virtual geocaches which lead to the coordinates of significant trees. This might be a way to gain exposure(perhaps with an ENTS member leading a hike or submitting a virtual geocache). There might also be a possible connection with photography clubs and Audubon clubs. Just thinking out loud. As always, though, available time is the limiting factor.

Steve
every plant is native somewhere

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gnmcmartin
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Re: Looking back over 2010

Post by gnmcmartin » Wed Dec 08, 2010 8:46 pm

ENTS:

As a novice tree measurer, I have learned that this work not only takes a bit of instruction/training/practice, but it is really, really hard work. I did my best to assist Will and Darian last week in Glover park, but I managed to contribute virtually nothing. Now I do have a back problem that makes my looking up into tree crowns difficult for any extended period of time. Of course, I am 71 years old, but I am still vigorous enough to work almost a full day in the woods logging (felling trees and lugging cable up and down hills, etc), which is certainly hard physical work. But this tree measuring business is just about as tough as anything I have attempted. I was absolutely stunned watching Will and Darian go about their work. While I was struggling to find a good top and measure one tree, Will was off and out of sight, having measured I don't know how many trees before I was done with one.

Maybe I should have posted this as a response to his recent reports, but I was absolutely stunned at the amount of work Will and Darian were able to do in what seemed to me an incredibly small amount of time. These guys are amazing.

Well, I am not sure I can count myself as having joined the ranks of ENTS tree measurers. Part of the problem is lack of time, the next part is that tree measurers, at least those like Will and Darian, are a special breed with great talent and stamina. Yes, we need to recruit more, but I can clearly understand why they are difficult to recruit.

Oh, in addition, I was also impressed by Will and Darian's ability to find trees of different species. I am a fair to middling tree identifier, but Will and Darian did an amazing job in finding the ten species to fill out the Rucker 10. I spent a lot of time in those woods, and at least one of the species they found I never knew was there. Wow!!

--Gaines

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