Sixty-five cyclists from across North America took to Virginia’s scenic byways last week for the 2011 Stihl Tour des Trees to benefit the TREE Fund, America’s largest fundraiser for tree research. This year’s Tour has already raised more than $460,000 for the Tree Research and Education Endowment (TREE) Fund, and the event’s legacy includes 45 new trees in Virginia and Washington, D.C., planted during the Tour’s outreach and education programs.
The weeklong cycling event kicked off at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Oct. 2. The cyclists continued on to Williamsburg, Richmond, Charlottesville, Front Royal and Reston, finishing their journey in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 8 with a finale concert celebration at American University with Rolling Stones keyboardist and conservationist Chuck Leavell. Highlights of the 2011 STIHL Tour des Trees included tree plantings in Colonial Williamsburg, Monticello and the state Capitol grounds in Richmond.
The Tour also stopped at Columbia Elementary School in Palmyra, where the entire school turned out to help plant a new tree and learn about how trees grow from the Tour’s youth education specialist, “Professor Elwood Pricklethorn” (aka Warren Hoselton, veteran Tour rider and arborist from Toronto, Canada.)
Donations can still be made to the TREE Fund through the STIHL Tour des Trees website, www.stihltourdestrees.org, and photos from each of the events are available on the media page.
Since the Tour began in 1992, more than 970 riders have helped generate more than $5 million for tree research and education programs that have helped fund a host of different projects that have addressed disease and pest management, urban planting challenges, tree biomechanics and workforce safety.