Do some good for yourself and do some good for trees. The largest fundraiser for tree research and education, the STIHL Tour des Trees, allows riders to tour Oregon by bike while contributing to a good cause: the Tree Research & Education Endowment Fund.
From Aug. 5 to Aug. 11, cyclists will take on a 585-mile loop through the Pacific Northwest state, enjoying the stunning scenery and diverse ecology. Journeying through the Pacific Coast, the Columbia River Gorge, vineyards, high desert and Mt. Hood, the adventure includes tree planting, educational programs and other fun activities. The event raises public awareness of the need to properly care for the trees in our communities.
Participants are expected to raise $3,500 to benefit the TREE Fund. The $100 registration fee provides room and board, a personalized apparel kit and complete mechanical and rider support for the week’s ride. Riders not wanting to commit to the full week may participate for a portion of the tour. The first 100 riders to sign up score a place and registration closes May 28.
“Each year an average of 60 percent of its participants are veteran Tour riders,” Mary DiCarlo at the TREE Fund said to LadyLUX. “They come back each year, or as often as they can, to see a new part of the world from the vantage point of back roads and a bicycle. They look forward to reuniting with their ‘tree family’ … Our cyclists are ‘regular people’ from a wide variety of professions who are elevated by a shared passion for cycling and the environment and a willingness to do something significant (and difficult) to make a difference.”
The 2011 tour gathered a record-breaking $500,000, plus planted 45 new trees. Thus far, the cycling excursions have brought in more than $5 million, with the money directed toward efforts such as improved strategies for pest and disease control, new methods for increasing the post-planting survival rate of street trees, and development of safer equipment and practices for tree care professionals.
This year celebrates the 20th anniversary of the tour. The first year, the initial 13 cyclists traveled 1,000 miles from Seattle to Oakland to raise funds for tree research.
The 2012 Tour des Trees will conclude with a one-day Ride for Research on Aug. 11 in Portland and then a Finale Celebration at the International Society of Arboriculture’s annual International Tree Climbing Championship.
“Strong, healthy trees are the crown jewels of our communities,” DiCarlo said to LadyLUX. “Try to picture your hometown with no trees! They clean our air, help to manage storm water runoff, shade and shelter our homes and streets and add beauty to our lives. As the bugs and diseases that threaten our urban forests evolve, so must the science that protects the health of our trees. Money raised by the STIHL Tour des Trees supports the discovery of better methods for planting, care and maintenance of urban trees. It also funds arboriculture education programs aimed at connecting kids with the environment (vitally important to today’s plugged-in kids) and inspiring them to care for the trees in their lives.”
The TREE fund is dedicated to promoting sustainable communities and environmental stewardship by funding research, scholarship and education programs to gain and spread knowledge of arboriculture and urban forestry.
A sponsor of the TREE FUND, STIHL Inc. produces handheld outdoor power equipment.
Cyclists have been signing up in record numbers, so secure your position soon. Visit www.stihltourdestrees.org.