For the first time in its 25-year history, the STIHL Tour des Trees ran concurrently with the ISA Annual International Conference and rode daily looped routes staged from the ISA host hotel. This approach proved successful in providing unique opportunities for interaction between Tour participants and the greater tree community, not to mention the treat of not having to pack up and move every day!
66 Tour cyclists started their weeklong, 587-mile ride through Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., on July 30 from National Harbor, MD. Riders received a hearty welcome at ISA’s Arboriculture Celebration kickoff event that evening, followed by socializing and networking with conference attendees at the Welcome Reception on the Trade Show Floor. TREE Fund’s interactive trade show booth was a big hit; attendees stopped by to chat with TREE Fund researchers and submit research questions and project ideas. The latter information will be considered by the TREE Fund Trustees as part of their Strategic Planning process.
After Monday’s century ride containing one of the highlights of the Silver Anniversary Tour – dedicating a Liberty Tree on Maryland’s Statehouse grounds in Annapolis – Tour riders were joined by a group of conference attendees for “Day at Night,” an engaging education program with Dr. Susan Day (Virginia Tech) over dessert and coffee.
On Tuesday, the Tour visited monuments on the National Mall and ended the day at the TREE Fund After Hours 25th Anniversary Tour Celebration. For many, it was their first opportunity to take part in this annual TREE Fund event!
The crowded room was festive and packed with Tour des Trees memorabilia against a backdrop of photos from the 1992 ride. Six of the original riders were in attendance: Jim Barborinas (WA), Jim Clark (CA), John Goodfellow (WA),
Ward Peterson (OH), Phil Svoboda (WA), and Marianne Waindle (CA). They were honored with Silver Anniversary plaques and Silver Anniversary Tour jerseys, and
John shared his reflections on the pioneering ride. Jennifer Pehmoeller (NY) was the lucky winner of the Silver Ticket Raffle; she chose the seven-night Holland America cruise (donated by Florida Chapter ISA) for her prize.
Thursday night’s Tour dinner at Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. celebrated veteran Tour riders. Steve Geist (CO) received a woodcarving created by fellow Tour rider Sam VanMaanen (IA) to mark his milestone 20th Tour, and original Tour riders Ward Peterson, Jim Clark, and Phil Svoboda were cheered for riding in 2017; Jim and Phil had not ridden the Tour since founding the event!
The 2017 STIHL Tour des Trees spent the rest of the week cycling beautiful Virginia horse country, dedicating trees, donating books to local libraries, and teaching local kids about tree biology and stewardship via Professor Pricklethorn events. Tour rider and team contributions, along with proceeds from TREE Fund After Hours generated over $300,000 for tree research and education in the near term and in perpetuity (through endowment, as designated by the donor). This money sets the baseline for TREE Fund’s 2018 research and education budget.
TREE Fund is grateful to Tour host Mid-Atlantic Chapter ISA, ISA for their partnership at the conference, Tour riders and the support crew, Tour rest stop hosts, event volunteers, TREE Fund Partners, the 1992 riders, event participants, our fundraisers and generous donors, and all the wonderful people throughout the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area who helped make our 2017 TREE Fund activities so successful.
See photos of this year’s STIHL Tour des Trees and learn more at stihltourdestrees.org.