Welcome aboard. My usual greeting to new comers who express their enjoyment of trees is that you are among friends, and indeed you are. People come from all backgrounds in NTS. There are professionals and amateurs associated with many professions, but all of us are equal in the eyes of the trees.
The Longfellow Pine is not particularly evident. It measures 11.3 feet around, which is respectable, but there are plenty of larger girth pines in Cook, so I doubt most visitors notice the Longfellow Pine unless they knew its exact whereabouts. BTW, our recent measurement of its height places it at 184.0 feet. This makes it the tallest accurately measured tree in the Northeast, and Cook Forest is the most appropriate place for it to be.
In terms of measuring heights of trees, we'll give you all the help you need. With two instruments: tape and clinometer, it is extremely easy once you get the hang of it. You shoot the distance to the top with a laser rangefinder, you take the angle to the top with a clinometer. You look up the trigonometric sine of the angle and multiply the sine of the angle by the distance. That gives height above eye level. The same process is used for height below eye level. The height above and below eye level are added together. That's it. The big challenge is to successfully identify the top of the tree and get laser bounces off of it.
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest