Thanks very much!
WNTS, ENTS, and any other arms of NTS that we may establish share a common mission. It is just carried out in different geographical areas. That said, our most visible tree measuring accomplishments will predictably by concentrated in areas where the size and ages of the trees challenge the human imagination. And in that arena, no place surpasses California, Oregon, and Washington. The redwoods, Douglas firs, and sequoias are the Mount Everests, K2s, and Kanchenjungas of the tree world. These three tree species challenge the very best in the tree-measuring world. Consequently, Don Bettolette, WNTS president, and I look forward to working with Michael Taylor to expand the reach of WNTS.
Thanks to webmaster Ed Frank's tireless efforts, we have the Internet infrastructure firmly in place to support an expansion of the WNTS mission. But it doesn't end there. Thanks to Dr. Don Bragg's efforts, we have a vehicle for presenting technical material in the appropriate format to the scientific community. Thanks to Mitch Galehouse, we have an excellent tool for recording our tree measurements in a database that will allow us to get the most mileage out of our collective efforts. Thanks to the splendid efforts of the NTS A-team, we have the best and most accurate set of measurements for "wild trees" ever assembled. It is up to us to maintain quality control. Quality is what we must always stand for.
We have seen serious tree measuring compromised through the state and national champion tree programs. The data these organizations have accumulated and regularly present in their lists is virtually useless. If that sounds unduly harsh, I challenge anyone to come forward and prove me wrong. We regularly see multi-stemmed trees, often the fusion of two or more separate trees, presented as candidates for big tree champion status. We regularly see trees listed that have obviously been over-measured as to height, sometimes in the tens of feet, and continue to watch as those trees stay listed. We see the weaknesses of the infrastructure that supports these champion tree programs, but are not in a position to do much about it. Still, NTS shares a common mission with the champion tree programs to promote the importance of the largest, tallest, and oldest members of each tree species to the public.
Although they may not always understand, we are not in competition with the champion tree programs. We very much want to see them succeed. But as a group, they seem paralyzed. A few programs stress quality and are making progress toward achieving it, but the rate of progress for the others is disappointing. Unless something changes, I predict the group, as a whole, will not arrive before the year 2100. If anyone one person or group is going to help the collective of champion tree programs speed up this snail's pace progress, I believe it has to be NTS, and leading the charge will be none other than WNTS president Don Bertolette. However,Don is but one person. He needs help.
With Michael Taylor on board as the WNTS VP, we are now in a much better position to help Don in Alaska, as well as achieve a number of worthy goals, coast to coast, WNTS or ENTS; i.e. NTS. Michael, Don and I have been anxiously awaiting your officially arrival. From your WNTS and ENTS brothers and sisters, welcome aboard.
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest