VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Sept. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The STIHL Tour des Trees, America's largest fundraiser for tree research, recently concluded its 2013 ride and raised more than $585,000 to date. Participants in the international 585-mile ride around Lake Ontario stopped at communities throughout New York and Canada to showcase the importance of trees with tree plantings and educational programs. Since the ride's inception, the STIHL Tour des Trees has raised more than $6.5 million for the Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund (TREE Fund), which provides research grants to help improve the health of trees in urban forests around the world.
The weeklong ride kicked off from Niagara Falls and ended in Toronto, exploring urban centers and local favorites including Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in New York, Lake Ontario Park in Kingston and several communities in Ontario's Prince Edward County. During the event, veteran Tour cyclist and park supervisor for Toronto Island Warren Hoselton, known to many as Professor Elwood Pricklethorn, engaged local children with fun, interactive educational programs that got hundreds of kids on their feet, learning about the benefits of planting and providing trees with proper care. Additional stops along the New York route included an emerald ash borer protection demonstration by Arborjet in Rochester, a first responder tree dedication in West Webster, and an American chestnut tree dedication in Syracuse. A total of 20 trees were planted as a legacy from the 2013 Tour.
The Tour's 97 cyclists this year come from diverse professional backgrounds ranging from accountants to arborists and have a shared passion for trees and the environment …and some came from as far away as Europe. "We were so impressed by the dedication and effort that these riders exhibited. The money that they raised will help ultimately lead to safer, more effective and more efficient tree care practices," said Janet Bornancin, the president and CEO of the TREE Fund. "The TREE Fund is indebted to our Tour riders for funding our research and education programs and helping to educate the public about the important role that science-based tree care plays in sustaining the urban forest."
The TREE Fund is dedicated to sustaining the world's urban trees by providing funding for scientific research, education programs and scholarships related to arboriculture and urban forestry. The TREE Fund, which has funded hundreds of research grants around the world, recently awarded a grant to an international team of scientists working with NASA engineers to discover the weakest areas in trees and how to more accurately predict breakage and failure from stress.
"The tree care industry is especially important to STIHL, and for the second year in a row we've had a Team STIHL ride in support of the TREE Fund, including a design engineer from Germany this year," said Anita Gambill, public relations specialist with STIHL Inc. and trustee on the TREE Fund board. "Every tree dedication and educational stop is an important piece of future growth and awareness of urban forestry and its surrounding industry. It's a great feeling to know we are helping communities across the country and world by helping fund research to improve the health of trees for future generations."
Visit http://stihltourdestrees.org/photos-videos/ to see pictures of this year's event.
To donate to the TREE Fund or learn how to get involved in the 2014 STIHL Tour des Trees, July 27 to Aug. 2, go to the STIHL Tour des Trees website, http://stihltourdestrees.org/.
Sponsors of the STIHL Tour des Trees include STIHL Inc.; TREE Fund Crown Sponsor Bartlett Tree Experts; TREE Fund Partners Arborjet; Asplundh Tree Expert Co.; International Society of Arboriculture; KASK Helmets; Tree Care Industry Association;
Event Sponsors The Davey Tree Expert Company; Tree Services Magazine; Arbor Age; Lewis Tree Service; National Grid; Arizona Public Service; PacifiCorp; Unitil; Arborwell; New York State Arborists; Ontario Chapter ISA, Trees, Inc.; SavATree; Utility Arborist Association; West Coast Arborists Inc.; Anderson's Tree Care; Eco-Bond; Ford Motor Company; Forestry Equipment of Virginia; Gamma Tree Experts LLC; Lakefront Utilities/GRCA; Morrisville State College; Tamarack Tree Care; Vermeer; Wright Tree Service, Inc.; and Workshop Creative Group.
About the TREE Fund
The TREE Fund's mission is to support sustainable communities and environmental stewardship by funding research, scholarships and education programs essential to the discovery and dissemination of new knowledge in the fields of arboriculture and urban forestry.
The TREE Fund has supported research that has led to important developments in:
- Understanding air pollution reduction and carbon sequestration by trees
- Determining the costs and benefits of urban trees
- Improving conditions for tree growth in difficult sites
- Strategies to manage diseases and pests that affect urban trees
For more information, visit www.treefund.org.