Early ENTS history - notes   Robert Leverett
  Jul 03, 2006 06:43 PDT 


   As you well know, I periodically relate material through e-mail about
the early years of ENTS. There are some firm events to relate, but often
the dates are approximate, such as our first official ENTS field event.
There are other lesser actions and activities that have hazy points of
origin. However, I will try to tie the loose ends together and relate
the bigger picture to you and others over the coming months. But in
terms of referring to past correspondence, at present, there are only
two humans on the planet that can tell the story and those two are Will
Blozan and myself.

   As you correctly recognize, my preoccupation with tree heights
precedes the creation of ENTS by a few years. It is a rather long story,
but it is the genesis of our subsequent preoccupation with tree heights.
I've told bits and pieces of the story, but sometimes with caveats for
political reasons. Will Blozan, who worked for the GSMNP at the time,
got into tree heights in a big way as a consequence of a joint mission
we spawned in 1994. I'm sure Will had measured literally thousands of
trees for diameter before that - far more than I had. We really got
going as a team on our tree height mission in 1995 first as a
consequence engineering the crown cross-triangulation method and later
through acquiring the LiteSpeed 400 Laser Rangefinder from Bushnell,
courtesy of information we got from BVP (who else?). The LiteSpeed 400,
the Suunto Clinometer, the scientific calculator, and the proper
application of nothing more than high school-level trigonometry has
since revolutionized the measuring of tree heights. Yes, we've added
layers of analysis since then and perfected techniques for determining
crown spread better, and most recently, volume, but the simple sin
top-sin bottom was the real breakthrough, which couldn't happen until
the hypotenuse of the right triangles we formed to measure height could
be directly measured. The hypotenuse IS the story, but not through the
square root of the sums of the squares of the other two sides. One could
almost write an entire book around this simple theme, acting as a
metaphor for how we humans structure our institutionalized through
different lenses. It is a fascinating subject.


   In the early period, Cook Forest State Park, Mohawk Trail State
Forest, the Great Smoky Mountains NP were the centers of measuring.
Other spots that garnered my attention in the formation period of my
tree height fixation included Moses Cone Memorial Forest, Linville
Gorge, and Walker Cove, all in North Carolina. Will fanned out over the
southern Appalachians, picking up additional sites like Cullasaja Gorge
and later Congaree NP. During the formation period, I visited Joyce
Kilmer Memorial Forest, but my tree measuring techniques were somewhat
comical. I think Michael Davie has done the most in Kilmer.

    Well, there are lost of threads and lots of stray details, but you
might get pretty confused trying to piece them together into a coherent
picture. Best that I do it for you.     
     The organization/list that preceded the Topica one was on a
Chicopee, MA server. It was ENTS. The service from the ISP was poor so
eventually I switched to Topica at the recommendation of Joe Zorzin.
Remember Joe?


Edward Frank wrote:
  Bob, Will, other early ENTS,

I want to compile information from the early days of ENTS. Will Blozan
has been measuring trees since the late 80's or early 90's. Bob
Leverett talks about measuring trees in the early 90's and trips with
Jack Sorban. http://www.nativetreesociety.org/measure/150club.htm
According to the story
http://www.nativetreesociety.org/entstrees/ents_history.htm ENTS was
formally begun by a group of people sitting around Bob Leverett's table
in Oct 1996. This October marks the 10th anniversary of that initial
organizational meeting.

I want to compile any correspondence, emails, documents, and references
to tree measuring by the group or other activities from the early 1990's
until 2002. The earliest post available on Topica dates to March 2,
2002. It talks of a miscellaneous measurements Bob had made in Mass. The
next few talk about Ice Glen, and the Longfellow Pine at Cook Forest. I
believe there had been another organization predating ENTS to which
people had been posting correspondence? If so, is there an archive of
posts from this group anywhere that could be researched or copied? Many
of the materials were individual emails sent among members of the group
- indeed the post on the Longfellow Pine was an individual email sent to
Bob L. from Will Blozan.
Re: Early ENTS history   Jess Riddle
  Jul 03, 2006 16:49 PDT 

Hi Ed,

I met Will in April of 1996, and through him got involved with ENTS.
Ever spring break, my dad and I would go car camping in the Smokies,
in large part to see big trees. Eventually, we asked whom among the
park employees knew about big trees, and we were directed to Will. We
went hiking with Will the next day and have kept up ever since.