Cook Forest Big Tree Extravaganza   Dale Luthringer
  May 10, 2007 19:26 PDT 

I want to send out a special thanks to everyone who helped make this
event such a success. There are so many to thank, I don't even know
where to start. What can I say? The weather was gorgeous, the speakers
were awesome, the presentations went well, the hikes were vigorous, Will
soared through the air, and Bob didn't put anyone to sleep!!! Matter of
fact, when Bob packed the Log Cabin Inn to capacity with the public
anticipating a 2hr trig lesson, I knew the rest of the day was going to
go well. The whole event was a great learning experience for me. I
always look forward to the opportunity to get together with everyone and
exchange information. It was nice to be able to listen for a change,
instead of being on the delivery end of things. It was also an
excellent opportunity for the public to get involved, ask questions, and
learn about the intrinsic attributes of old growth forest ecology. It
may be hard to believe, but we had just shy of 500 program participants
attend throughout the day. Not shabby for a mid-Spring event.

photo by Carl Harting

First off though, I hope everyone forgives me for not getting this
letter of thanks out sooner. After the ENTS event I had to quickly
switch gears to put the finishing touches on an all day round robin
multi-agency series of programs for ~160 high school students. After
that, it was time for a vacation. So, I just got back and am slowly
picking my way through 100's of e-mails. serves me right for taking a

I won't get into the details of Friday's field trips, since Will did a
great job of going over those areas already. Sunday's field trip to the
Maple Drive Old Growth Area proved to be another beautiful and
successful day, with Will finding 3 more black cherries in the 130ft

7.2ft CBH x 130ft high
7.9ft CBH x 132.8ft high
5.1ft CBH x 134ft high (new park H:D record)

There very well could be more in this stand. There's still one large
section of unmeasured territory here. It'd take at least a whole day
for me, if not two, to get through it. Carl was already eyeing it up to
try to scoop me with new big tree finds. It was ALL my pleasure to
finally bring a number of Ents to see this grove and get their take on
it. We also re-measured the one 160ft class white pine in this area to
162.3ft high.

The main public programs on Saturday went quite well. Bob's
presentation was VERY good. It was a great trig lesson and gave me more
incite into various ENTS measuring methodologies. Looks like I have my
homework cut out for me. I'm sure Bob has plenty of assignments all
lined up for me and ready to go as soon as I master the latest

After Bob's presentation many of us were on edge after sucking down a
high octane home brew of coffee and a few dozen very sugary donuts. So,
what better way to burn it off but to go out and apply the techniques in
the field. We then started a vigorous uphill cross country hike off the
Seneca Trail to see the Davies Black Cherry, the current PA Am. Beech
height champ, and the Camp Trail Hemlock with about 75 people in tow
ranging in all ages, from maybe 2 to 82. Numerous Ents jumped in to
help field questions and demonstrate measuring techniques along the way.

Morning Hike - photo by Carl Harting

The Davies Black Cherry is still the tallest known specimen for the NE
U.S. at 11.4ft CBH x 137.3ft high which was last measured and also tape
dropped by Will at the spring 2005 event. The current Am. Beech PA
height champ was also last measured at the 2005 event to 7.5ft CBH x
127.5ft high (via John Eicholz, ofcourse). The Camp Trail hemlock, last
measured by Carl & I this winter, went to 13.8ft CBH x 119.2ft high and
778ft3 using Jess & Will's Tsuga Search protocol.

Will Blozan atop the Seneca Hemlock - photo by Ed Frank

Next was Will's climb up the Seneca Hemlock. But to get there, we had
to take another vigorous, yes, you guessed it, uphill climb. It was
just a short hike, and ended up with about 85 people there to witness
the event. Will tape dropped it to 145.4t high, still the tallest known
hemlock in the Northeastern U.S. What an absolutely gorgeous day to
climb. With the public below, the Jani Pine just to the west of us, the
Kershner Pine just uphill to the NW, and God blessing us with perfect
weather from above, we couldn't have asked for a better day. I'll leave
the explanation of the view from the tree tops with Will. He routinely
does what many of us dream we could do.

We then adjourned to replenish the coffee & donuts we just burnt off, at
our usual watering hole at the Trails End. After filling our bellies,
it was time (to be put to sleep) Errr, for the evening lecture series.

First off was Professor Gary Beluzo from Holyoke Community College with
his presentation entitled 'The G.I.S.T. of Mapping Old Growth Forests,
followed next by forest ecologist Scott Bearer from The Nature
Conservancy in Pennsylvania explaining the 'Pennsylvania Old Growth
Forest Restoration Project'. Third was research ecologist Todd Ristau
from the U.S. Forest Service presenting 'Seventy-two Years of Change in
the Vegetation Composition of Heart's Content Scenic Area'. Last, but
certainly not least, was Dr. Lee Frelich, Director of Hardwood Ecology
at the University of Minnesota as he brought us up to date on 'Human vs.
Natural Disturbance in Northern Hardwood, Hemlock, and White Pine

All evening presenters were excellent and received 'prestigious' awards
to help commemorate this noteworthy event.

Gary received a new compass so he's ready when his GPS conks out. Never
forget the Boy Scout motto, Gary, "Be Prepared". Looks like I still
need to work on that motto myself. Thanks for stepping in and fixing
the power point problems when they occurred. Do any of these power
point presentation EVER go off without a hitch?

Lee received a pedometer for being the furthest traveling Ent to present
that weekend, and also a complimentary bag of gummy worms for his next
long trek to present various aspects of invasive earthworm ecology.

I went easy on Scott and Todd since they're new to ENTS and just gave
them a Cook Forest coffee mug. We got to break them in easy, guys. We
don't want to scare them away, yet...

Ed Frank

Just to let everyone know, Ed was very ill and not able to make it to
most of the weekend's events, which, by the way, he WAS an integral part
in helping to promote the event not only throughout the local community,
but many state agencies as well. Ed did muster up super human strength
to attain video of Will's climb up the Seneca Hemlock though. In Ed's
absence, his 'proxy' presented me with an excellent book on, yes, what
else. "wood". It's under my pillow as we speak. Since he was not able
to make the evening lecture series, I decided to keep the peace offering
a planned on presenting him, a whole case of Mountain Dew. Believe me,
I needed it more than he did to keep me awake the next few days. Well,
he had all that rest time for being sick and I didn't want him to upset
his stomach again.

I certainly do not want to forget all the behind the scenes volunteers
who helped to make things appear to run smoothly, most notably our
Pennsylvania A-Team: Carl Harting, Ed Frank, Scott Wade, Tony Kelly,
and Art Zetts (well, Art's from Ohio, but he "lives" in Cook Forest).
These guys helped get the facilities ready, got the food ready to go,
transported AV equipment, provided expert guide service for guest
speakers, answered public questions, demonstrated tree measuring
techniques, and conducted deer density studies all at the same time.
These folks did a super job in helping everything run as smoothly as
possible.   No, Bob, you can't have them. You've got your own MASS
team. Besides, you've got Eicholz.

Also thanks goes out to the Sawmill Center for the Arts for making the
amphitheater available to us, as well as MacBeth's Cabins for providing
the Saturday night pizzas.

Thanks again folks. I greatly appreciate the time and sacrifices you
made to put together a super event.

Best Regards,


Dale J. Luthringer
Environmental Education Specialist
Cook Forest State Park


I have just one further request. If anyone has any pictures or videos,
please send them my way, the higher the resolution the better. The park
is in the process of putting together various waysides to be placed
within the next 2-12 months. We're also working on putting a video
together on events such as these. It would be an incredible help to
receive any pictures you have of the event, since I was not able to take
even ONE pic throughout the entire weekend. Pictures, jpegs, and videos
can be sent to:

Cook Forest State Park
ATTN: Dale Luthringer
P.O. Box 120 (River Rd)
Cooksburg, PA 16217


If we use your images, I'll do my best to have them properly credited as
long as I'm employed at Cook Forest.

RE: Cook Forest Big Tree Extravaganza   Gary A. Beluzo
  May 11, 2007 09:17 PDT 

A masterful synopsis of the Cook Forest Extravaganza! I think you covered
everything buddy! This years program seemed to be especially well organized
and went off without incident. Your 10:00pm delivery of pizza was a welcome
sight especially to the kids traveling with me (they still talk about the
"cool guy in the Smoky the Bear suit" that stopped by with the eats. The
compass is hanging proudly on the wall in my office at the College so that I
don't get lost when preparing for lectures.

I am proud to be part of ENTS and look forward to many more programs and
outings in the future. The intellectual stimulation is great but the
camaraderie that exists between the members of this group is just down right
FUN! Although I am on sabbatical until Feb 2008, Bob and I are still doing
the 5th Forest Summit at HCC in the Fall, and we are looking forward to the
program and the activities in the field the day before and after. The date
of the Summit is October 19 (Friday) 9:00am to 9:00pm with lots of surprise
guests. Keep watching my website for details at  . Also,
if anyone would like a link on the website just let me know and I will be
happy to add you.


RE: Cook Forest Big Tree Extravaganza   Dale Luthringer
  May 18, 2007 13:29 PDT 
Thanks Gary,

Oh, I did forget to mention one thing and just can't believe I left it
out. Bob's 8 piece water pistol set award. He'll have to test them out
to see which one shoots the farthest, which ones the most accurate, etc.
then give us an overall synopsis of each one to the 8th iteration to see
which one works best in varying light, humidity, temperature, latitude,
and elevation variations.

Yes, I am proud to be a part of ENTS as well. Just glad I can play a
small part in bringing everyone together.


P.S. If I was REALLY organized, I should've dropped by in a Smoky Bear
or Woodsy Owl suit. On second thought, that gives me a great hazing
idea to incorporate new Ents into the fold.