For a number of months I have been corresponding with Bob Leverett and some of the other long time members of the Native Tree Society about creating a series of interest groups to help emphasize the interests of the members and put a more coherent and professional face on our organization in our internet presence. Groups are similar to committees, but are more loosely organized and without regular meetings. I am looking for members to volunteer to be Group Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen for each group. I have people in mind to invite to these positions if no one volunteers. The Chairmen and Vice Chairmen will not have any formal duties aside from outreach to potential new members and promoting the specific goal of the group and broader goals of the organization.
Bob sent out the following note to the other core members of the organization:
Comments and suggestions from all of the member are welcome. I will great a new forum for groups, and sub-forums for each individual group in which specific group management posts can be made. People who want to nominate themselves or others for a Chairmen or Vice Chairmen position can email me individually firstname.lastname@example.orgHi Folks,
Sometime back, Ed suggested that he believed the time had come to take NTS forward organizationally. Ed developed the concept of an Executive Committee and a series of Groups. Ed and I have been communicating on the idea since. What follows is the result. We present to you all for consideration. At first, I was reluctant to go forward, worrying about adopting a burdening structure that diverted us from what we enjoy most. But after having thought it through, I don't see any negatives, and agree with Ed on the positives. But we must move forward as a group. I have no more say-so than the rest of you. So the time has come to present our ideas to the rest of you, the other officers of NTS. In the list of groups, we propose chairman and vice chairman. These are just suggestions based on our appraisal of interest or available time.
Ed's point to me in a telephone discussion is that this structure presents a more coherent and professional view of NTS to the outside world regardless of how active the groups are. Even if only window dressing, the structure has value in communicating our credentials and experience. And all groups do not need to be established at the outset. As a minimum, we would establish the Executive Committee, the Scientific Advisory Committee, and at least the Science Advisory Group; Arts, Aesthetics, and New Media Group; Dendromorphometry Group; and Internet and Communications Group.
Native Tree Society Interest Groups
The Native Tree Society has grown over the years since its founding in 1996. The organization has expanded from its original core focus area of New England and the central Appalachians to areas all across North America and with pockets of active members located elsewhere in the world. The numbers of members have increased over this time and we have developed a notable internet presence for the organization. We have outgrown our original name, the Eastern Native Tree Society, and recently transitioned to become simply the Native Tree Society. We have formally created two sub-chapters in the organization, the Eastern Native Tree Society and the Western Native Tree Society, to acknowledge the expanding membership within those two geographical regions. In discussing the history of the organization Robert Leverett wrote: “We didn't want to have to acquire assets, worry over schedules, newsletters, and a fiddle with a lot of administrative details that would detract from the mission. Creating ENTS primarily as an internet based -organization seemed to be the answer.”
The time of ENTS being a small, informal organization has passed us by. We need to develop a more formal structure for the organization as it continues to grow and expand, while still remaining true to our overall mission. Towards that goal we plan to incorporate some organizational structure into the Native Tree Society. First, we are going to expand the membership of the Executive Committee beyond the current the original or founding members to eight members. Second we would like to create a Scientific Advisory Board to provide scientific guidance in the design and implementation and review of scientific research being conducted by or on behalf of the Native Tree Society. Third we see the need for a series of Groups, each headed by a Chairman and one or two Vice Chairman, that will serve to reflect and showcase the interests and expertise of our members. Members may choose to join and to participate in as many different groups as they chose.
The Executive Committee will provide executive and administrative functions for the organization. It will have the power to create or disband other formal committees, boards, groups, chapters, and other subgroups within the organization. It will appoint or approve the chairmen and vice chairmen, or other titled head of each formal subgroup and also to remove or replace those subgroup heads as they deem necessary. The Executive Committee will have the responsibility to review and approve or disapprove any commitment or contract by the Native Tree Society that involve other individuals, organizations, groups, or agencies. It will oversee the day to day functions of the Native Tree Society organization. Individual members of the Executive Committee will have the discretionary power to make day to day decisions involving the organization without prior approval of the entire committee, but major decisions will be subject to review and approval of the full committee. General business of the Executive Committee may be conducted via telephone, email, conference, or other similar means. A majority of the members will meet in person at least once per year to discuss issues involving the Native Tree Society organization. The proposed committee will consist of the following positions in NTS (ENTS and WNTS): President, Vice President, Executive Director, Webmaster, Editor of Bulletin. This includes, Will Blozan, Don Bertolette, Lee Frelich, Michael Taylor, Bob Leverett, Ed Frank, Don Bragg, and Steve Galehouse.
Scientific Advisory Board
The Science Advisory Board would consist primarily of credentialed members of the organization and other members with representing specific areas of expertise that would serve as advisers to the group on scientific matters. They would not be required to endorse any specific finding or papers published by the organization, nor would their names appear on any research report by the organization in which they were not a participating author. The members of the Scientific Advisory Board would provide scientific guidance in the design and implementation and review of scientific research being conducted by or on behalf of the Native Tree Society. (There are many PhD’s loosely associated with NTS or that hold memberships, various Master’s and BS people also, and authors of books on Old-growth. I don’t think it would hurt anyone’s professional standing to be a member of a “scientific advisory Board.” I would include those with degrees in non-forestry related fields to emphasize the variety of expertise along with those with forestry degrees. For example we have Ernie Ostuno – meteorology, Larry Baum – PhD in Theoretical Physics, Edward Frank with geology, Doug Bidlack with PhD in entomology, etc.)
As part of the ongoing evolution of the Native Tree Society, we propose a series of member groups to better highlight and reflect the expertise, experience, and interests of our members. These are essentially a less formal equivalent of a committee with a larger membership in each group. NTS members may ask to be added to any group, or may opt to be removed from a particular group, and may be members of more than one group at one time. Members can participate as they have time or desire to do so and are encourage to participate in all aspects of the organization no matter what group or groups in which they are members. Each group will headed by a Chairman and one or two Vice Chairman. The groups would serve not only to spark interest within the NTS itself, but would also would also emphasize the focus of the organization as well to non-members considering working with or joining the Native Tree Society. More groups can be created or the initial groups can be reorganized once the groups structure is in place. These are the initial groups we are planning to create:
Arts, Aesthetics, and New Media Group: Members who are professional artists, musicians, photographers, or otherwise have an abiding interest in this subject. We have had many posts by Jennifer Dudley, Andrew Joslin, Karl Cronin, and recently some really neat stuff by Michael Gatonska. We have artists, photographers, and videographers in the group that can and do contribute.
Forest Canopy Research Group: Members involved in or interested in forest canopy research. Aside from Will Blozan, Bart Bouricious, and Robert Van Pelt, we have not made great strides in this area, but it is an up and coming field that we need to emphasize. Perhaps we can attract more people and get more deeply involved with canopy research. Tree Climbers International and NTS are planning a event in 2013 to spur more canopy research by average tree climbers.
Tree Climbing and Recreational Activities: The purpose of this group is promote outreach and coordination with other groups involved in outdoor recreational activities such as recreational tree climbing, geocaching, hiking, and birding. We have many people who are recreational tree climbers. Efforts by Andrew Joslin has helped us link up with Patty Jenkins (new NTS Menber) of Tree Climbers International as a partner for future efforts. We share much in common with other outdoor enthusiasts and we hope to forge working alliances with some of these groups and attract new members from their ranks.
Dendromorphometry Group: A group for those seriously into tree measurement and would include among others Robert Leverett, Michael Taylor, Will Blozan, and Dale Luthringer and others involved with detailed tree measurement and modeling.
Multinational Coordination Group: Members who are interested in expanding our membership and contacts into areas around the world. Initial membership would also include international (non US) members and members involved in tree and forest research working in different countries around the world. What can we do to increase membership in areas outside of the United States? What can we do to increase our ties and relationships with groups from elsewhere in the world? We need to develop a network of tree related organizations encompassing the entire world.
Dendrochronology and Old Growth Forest Group: Members involved with dendrochronology and investigations of old-growth forests. You really can't be serious about studying forests if you are not considering dendrochronoogy and old growth forest systems. One of our founders, Dr. David Stahle is a dendrochronologist, Dr. Neil Pederson is a prominent dendrochronologist working al over the world. Other members are also involved with dendrochronology. We have people like Robert Leverett who has authored books on old growth and Dr. Joan Maloof, founder of the Old-Growth Forest Network as members. This should be a point of emphasis in our organization.
Forest Ecology and Processes: Members involved with or interested in forest ecology and processes.
Forestry and Arboriculture Group: Members who are professional foresters, arborists, landscapers, and naturalist working in parks and arboretums. We have very few foresters in the group and I would like to see more. There are many arborists in the NTS, but those represent only a tiny fraction of those who work as arborists around the world. Some of the neatest trees are found in urban settings. I would like to see some outreach to the arborist world so that interesting trees they encounter are documented.
Measurement and Exploration Group: Members who are contributing measurements to the group or detailed site descriptions of places they explore. A group for the general membership - a place to get started and participate open to the generalists among us.
Internet, Database, and Web Communications Group: Members who are involved with tree related internet activities, maintaining tree websites, databases, etc. Many people have websites about trees. Some of State Coordinators for American Forests. The goal of the group would be to help each other with our individual websites and with the NTS internet presence. Mitch Galehouse has contributed enormously with the ongoing development of our internet database.
LiDAR, and Computer Modeling Group: Group working on the increased utilization of LiDAR and other modeling efforts to better locate, explore, and document tree sites. I would like to see some training videos developed (I have ideas) for people trying to get started using the tools.