AF National Cadre - There's Still Plenty of Room

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AF National Cadre - There's Still Plenty of Room

Post by dbhguru » Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:57 am


The Native Tree Society has been in formal existence since 1996. That's 20 years. It had an "informal rise" dating back to 1993, but became "official" when the University of Arkansas Tree-Ring Laboratory established a website for us. The present BBS has been in existence since March 2010, and most people who know of NTS, know it through this BBS and associated website - a lasting legacy of the one and only Ed Frank. I often reflect on what Ed created for us and his endless hours of work over the trees.

Our mission in NTS remains the celebration of trees in science, sport, art, photography, poetry, music, medicine, wood working, mythology, climbing, spirituality, etc. We purposely do not include activities that utilize wood as a raw resource such as furniture, construction, paper, etc. where trees lose their identities as important life forms in service to the Earth as opposed to satisfying our material needs. We're not against the latter uses. We all benefit from them, but their associated activities are not what NTS is about, and we've had to reinforce that point on occasion. In the past, we allowed ourselves to stray into the environmental - forestry wars and that almost destroyed NTS. Ed came to the rescue, and we've pretty much stayed on message since.

A prominent function of NTS over the years has been to develop tree-measuring methods that avoid the deficiencies of the traditional ones. As a consequence of that and my affiliation with American Forests, it was inevitable that a connection would develop between AF and NTS to allow us to share our methods with AF. Our basic objective was to enhance AF's Big Tree Program. The NTS-AF connection in 2013, and as a result, NTS members make up the AF Measuring Guidelines Working Group (MGWG). Also, in 2013, Don Bertolette conceived of the idea of an elite tree-mesuring cadre assigned directly to AF that would function to certify national champions, train tree measurers, develop measuring methods, and act as consultants to the state programs. Big Don's vision, aided by yours truly, came to fruition in 2014. We now have 33 members and will likely gain another 4 or 5 by the end of the year. Our objective is to have Cadre representation in all 50 states.

Although, the most fertile field for further recruitment is shifting to personnel in the state big tree programs, I'm not sure that we've exhausted NTS as a resource. So, if anyone out there wants to join the Cadre, please contact me, Don Bertolette, Will Blozan, Don Bragg, or Matt Markworth. New recruits come aboard as apprentices and then progress on separate tracks depending on their talents/backgrounds and efforts made.

I must acknowledge, that developing the Cadre is proving labor intensive and requires that we do a lot on our own initiatives. We're establishing a formal BBS-website for the Cadre. Only Cadre will be members, so we'll have a dedicated communications channel for Cadre business. It should be up and running in two to three weeks. I suppose we could have carved out a part of the NTS BBS for that purpose, but it is important to maintain the distinction between NTS and the AF National Cadre. They are entirely separate entities. Cadre members, when functioning in that capacity, are organizationally part of American Forests. NTS affiliations have no bearing. Every Cadre member has a membership card issued by AF HQ. Members represent and speak for AF.

So, the call goes out. Any of you who would like to join the Cadre, let either Don, Will, Don, Matt, or me know, and we'll take it from there.

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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