Hierarchies and ENTS

A selection of founder Robert Leverett's more philosophical posts and trip reports.

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dbhguru
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Hierarchies and ENTS

Post by dbhguru » Tue May 25, 2010 9:08 am

ENTS,

I'm in a rambling mood. For those who will indulge me, I hope that some of what follows makes sense.

I often see myself as living in the space between other people's hierarchical structures - sometimes an awkward position when trying to make contributions as a concerned citizen or be a volunteer of some type within an existing organizational structure. In a sense, ENTS exists in an in-between world. We're not an official forestry organization, although we're forest-based. We're not an official tree organization, although we're tree-based. We're not in a hierarchy of scientific organizations, although we're science-based. We're not an academic institution, although we have distinguished academicians in ENTS. I could go on, but you get my drift. We exist in a between space.

These days, I think a lot about how we can make ever more useful contributions to a wider appreciation of forests and trees, but since we're not a recognized professional research or academic institution, it is not always clear how our efforts will be received within the stuffy hierarchies that exist. But where there is a will, there is a way. A number of Ents either work directly for a government agency or an environmental group or volunteer their time. I fall in the latter category, and while things don't always happen on my schedule, when looking back I am satisfied that a lot has happened from my volunteer efforts. But what does this really have to do with ENTS? In many efforts, I would have been less effective, or even marginalized, had I not had support from fellow and lady Ents. You all were giving it, even if you were unaware of it. My influence was magnified manifold times by being able to invoke ENTS. So thinking along those lines, maybe ENTS serves us best in its capacity to empower each of us acting as individuals to achieve well beyond what we could accomplish without the ENTS umbrella. I'll cite an example.

By mid-June the Department of Conservation and Recreation here in Massachusetts will open a big tree display at the Western Gate Heritage State Park. Grand trees located on DCR properties will be showcased in a spectacular exhibit that will run up into late September and organized by Robert Campanile, formerly of the American Museum of Natural History. Now, how do you suppose DCR chose the trees that are to be showcased? I think everyone has the answer to that question. All the trees are ENTS-chosen. Yes, technically, it was me who made the choices, but I did so in the name of ENTS, knowing that I had the implicit backing of comrades. Will Blozan, Andrew Joslin, and Bart Bouricius have climbed some of the entries, lending enormous credibility to the choices. Mathematician John Eichholz has been a partner in measuring outstanding trees. We have sponsored many EMTS events in Mohawk Trail State Forest. I could cite other ENTS tree connections, but the point is made. The point I now wish to make is that in lobbying for the trees, I constantly and unabashedly invoke ENTS. I carry the cloak of ENTS wherever I go. I am not the least bit timid about citing our credentials, and on occasion, daring anyone to challenge me on what I am claiming with respect to a tree or forest site. Timidity is not part of my nature.

With these confessions made, I'm unsure how many members feel comfortable invoking the name of ENTS or would unhesitatingly call on ENTS to help in some situation where we have expertise, but it is the right of every member to do so. That is a point that cannot be over-emphasized. The founders of ENTS have no monopoly on wearing the cloak of ENTS. It is an effective cloak to be worn, and I emphasize that. It continues to net us very important projects. In November we will meet in Virginia to measure and document important trees on the estates of Jefferson and Madison. What could be more prestigious than that? Really.

As our accomplishments grow, the calls for us to incorporate as a nonprofit also grow. Understand and am sympathetic to the thinking. I expect that incorporation as a not-for-profit will come in time. Maybe it is inevitable. If it is I hope nothing is lost in the move. In our present form, we are free as birds. Our spirits soar. We pursue out passions without interference from the heavy hand of government breathing down our necks. We don't have to organize, incur debt, be liable, meet rigorous schedules, hire bean counters, or compete within a stifling bureaucracy or organizational hierarchy headed by individuals with large egos to feed. Without this conventional and societally promoted baggage, can we be effective? Yes, we can (and have)- up to a point. But we also can't effectively raise money, which limits how far some members can go in committing their time or traveling at their own expense to distant locations. It is a dilemma. Financial constraints are a problem that make it much more difficult for us to perform on big projects. If we want to take on bigger jobs, we're personally called on to make larger personal sacrifices. That is often not possible for key individuals.

However, every time I think that it is time to move toward incorporation, I shut my eyes and watch our precious freedoms winging away, our youthful innocence ending. I suppose it doesn't have to be that way as long so long as we don't allow ourselves to become entrapped in hierarchical thinking. Having spent years in that world, I know what I'm talking about. But all of us remaining as free spirits from within an organization that feels the pressure to increase its rules and procedures to function within the hierarchy is much easier said than done.

Bob
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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edfrank
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Re: Hierarchies and ENTS

Post by edfrank » Tue May 25, 2010 2:57 pm

Bob,

Another excellent essay on the role of ENTS.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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James Parton
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Re: Hierarchies and ENTS

Post by James Parton » Tue May 25, 2010 11:59 pm

Bob,

I wear the cloak of ENTS proudly and hope to contribute more as time goes on. I have told many others about ENTS but as of yet no one else has joined and became active.

I have always been for ENTS to find a way to raise money. Paying key members to go on expeditions that would otherwise be impractical or impossible would greatly enhance our research capabilities. Could you imagine a handful of us measuring huge eucalypts in Tazmania? Or closer to home, visiting the Bristlecone pines? Also, Ed could be paid for his awesome work on keeping up the website and documentation. He's done some awesome work.

The future is bright for ENTS. The BBS shows evidence of this. Whatever ENTS does, I hope to be part of it.

James
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

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dbhguru
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Re: Hierarchies and ENTS

Post by dbhguru » Wed May 26, 2010 7:51 am

James,

You make excellent points. As far as your being part of the future ENTS, I think that is assured. Your participation has been an important part of the success of the BBS. We have over 120 members, but most are silent. That is likely to be the way it will continue to be, which means that if we want an active organization, pursuing important missions, some must shoulder greater loads, be that what Ed does, Will does, or active BBS members such as yourself, Steve, Larry, Don, etc. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Bob
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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