Would You Go 500 Miles for Our Trees?
This year’s STIHL Tour des Trees—a 500-mile bike ride dedicated to saving trees—takes place July 27 to August 2. There are still spaces available! Click here to sign up, or donate directly to the fundraiser by clicking here.
The average lifespan of an urban tree is 8 to 10 years. Forget those decades-defying specimens we learned about in grade school—our street beautifiers and complimentary oxygen dispensers are undergoing a truly tragic timber.
As their pests and diseases evolve, the study of trees becomes increasingly relevant. Research on this topic, called arboriculture, is necessary to combat threats and improve tree care, which really improves green space for everyone.
The Tree Research and Education Endowment (TREE) Fund is a grant-giving organization that focuses on research and development for our tall, leafy friends. And this summer, its largest fundraiser, the STIHL Tour des Trees, will explore Wisconsin, beginning and ending in the state’s lovely capital of Madison. (“Largest fundraiser” is no joke! The Tour des Trees raises over $600,000 per year for the TREE Fund.)
The Tour des Trees brings together biking enthusiasts and environmentalists alike to ride over 500 miles, pledging to raise a minimum of $3,500. But it’s not all about the money. Mary DiCarlo, Manager of Development & Communications at TREE Fund, emphasizes the sense of community that is harbored during the event—the same sense of community that brings 65 percent of riders back year after year: “This is really our opportunity to bring our show on the road. Riders stop in cities along the way to do tree plantings, which attracts kids and community members. And that’s great! Because this is what we’re all about: educating people about trees and their importance in our lives.”
The Tour des Trees is a seasoned event, first pedaling into existence in 1992. And after collaborating with tree care tool company STIHL in 2009, DiCarlo says, “STIHL has certainly boosted the fun factor, and increased the visibility of the TREE Fund and the Tour.” So, expect great food, comped hotels, jerseys, helmets, and mechanical and support crews. Biking 500 miles is hard work, but the TREE Fund and its partners will make sure riders are taken care of. (This is perhaps best articulated by Professor Pricklethorn‘s tree care demonstrations for children who live in communities the Tour passes through on its way to the finish line.)
Details about joining the #1 fundraiser for tree research and education in the world can be found at stihltourdestrees.org. It isn’t too late to be a part of an experience that pairs togetherness and environmental awareness with ease. As Mary DiCarlo so articulately puts it: “Mature, healthy trees are the crown jewels of our most livable communities, and the secret to healthy trees is planning and good tree care. If riding 585 miles on a bike gets that message in front of people then it’s worth every mile.”
All photography by Jeanette Martin
Connect with Piper @PiperStullLanearboriculture, biking, cycling, eco-conscious, fundraiser, green family, health and fitness, nonprofit, STIHL Tour des Trees, studies and research, TREE Fund