Recreational bicyclists have many cycling tours to choose from each year, but the STIHL Tour des Trees promises to take touring to a higher level — by engaging riders in fund raising for urban forestry. The event combines nature, exercise and charity into one jampacked week, from July 28 through August 3, 2013.
Registration recently opened for this seven-day, 500-mile cycling tour taking riders over roads on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border. Cyclists from all over the world sign up for the Tour des Trees, which is a ride rather than a race. Each participating cyclist pays a $100 registration fee and commits to raising at least $3,500 for the TREE (Tree Research and Education Endowment) Fund. This endowment awards monies for research projects, college scholarships and educational programs on arboriculture and urban forestry. The TREE Fund supports research that promotes strong, healthy urban trees to improve the quality of life of city-dwelling humans.
Now in its 22nd year, the STIHL Tour des Trees is billed as North America's largest fundraiser for tree research. Last year's participating cyclists raised $600,000 for the TREE Fund. This year's event begins at Niagara Falls, passing through upstate New York and partially circling Lake Ontario before ending in Toronto. Tree plantings and educational programs are planned throughout the week to address why people need trees and how they can care for them. Cyclists can register for the ride on the STIHL Tour des Trees website.
Rebecca Martin is an Associate Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, where her beats include DIY and Green Transportation. She's an avid cyclist and has never met a vegetable she didn't like. You can find her on Google+.