Having helped raise nearly half a million dollars for tree research in 2010 through the STIHL Tour des Trees, STIHL Inc. returns as the title sponsor for the 2011 Tour. The seven-day cycling excursion will wind through the scenic mid-Atlantic region in October and is the signature fundraising event of the Tree Research and Education Endowment (TREE) Fund, which aims to advance knowledge in the field of arboriculture and urban forestry.
The TREE Fund is the largest non-governmental source of funding for research and education programs related to arboriculture and urban forestry in the world, raising more than $4.4 million through the Tour since the event began. Money raised by the STIHL Tour des Trees funds research into best practices for locating, planting, pruning and caring for urban trees, the development of hardier, disease-resistant species, alternative solutions to pesticide use and development of safer equipment and techniques for tree care workers.
“We have sponsored the STIHL Tour des Trees for the past 11 years and are proud to continue our support for tree conservation efforts,” said Roger Phelps, promotional communications manager for STIHL Inc. “We feel it’s important to educate the public about tree care and the role that TREE Fund supported research has in improving our environment and overall quality of life.”
“Some wonder why a chain saw company would be interested in supporting our efforts,” said Janet Bornancin, executive director of the TREE Fund. “What they might not know is that STIHL products are used to maintain overall tree health, allowing trees to live and grow to their full potential. They play an integral role in tree conservation.”
This year’s route will take participants across 500 miles of East Coast terrain, beginning in Virginia Beach, Va., and ending in Washington, D.C. There is also a one day, 30-mile recreational “Ride for Research” fundraiser around Virginia Beach on Oct. 2 for riders who would like to participate in a shorter ride. From Virginia Beach the Tour travels to Williamsburg for a loop through Jamestown. Additional stops are scheduled for Richmond, Charlottesville, Front Royal and Reston, Va. On Oct. 8, the Tour’s final day, cyclists will travel from Reston to the National Arboretum, Casey Trees, and the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
STIHL Tour des Trees participants will travel through time as they ride through historic locations, including the nation’s birthplace in colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, the university town of Charlottesville, founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, and historic Harpers Ferry where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers and the three states of West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland meet. The 2011 Tour route also includes 65 miles of the breath-taking Skyline Drive, a designated National Scenic Byway and the only public road within the Shenandoah National Park.
Sponsors of the 2011 Tour include STIHL Inc., The Davey Tree Expert Co., APS, Casey Trees, Lewis Tree Service, the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), NGK Spark Plugs, West Coast Arborists, Vermeer, and Wright Tree Service. TREE Fund sponsors include Bartlett Tree Experts, Asplundh Tree Expert Co. and KASK Helmets.
More information on the STIHL Tour des Trees, including information on sponsorship, rider registration or donating to the TREE Fund is available at www.stihltourdestrees.org.