An area arborist plans to complete a 585-mile bicycle tour to raise funds for tree research.
Lori Brockelbank, a Sinclairville native who is a certified arborist at FORECON, Inc. Forestry Consulting in Falconer, has found herself celebrating Arbor Day with her two sons, Mathew and Johnathan, for the last nine years. So this year Brockelbank decided to go beyond her normal celebration by participating in a 585-mile cycling tour around Lake Ontario to raise funds for tree research.
"My boys and I have done nine seasons of planting trees for Re-Tree in Buffalo," said Brockelbank. "So, this ride is for them, for their future and for their trees."
Lori Brockelbank, certified arborist, a native of Sinclairville, is shown at Jamestown Community College's Earthfest with the bike that she will utilize for a 585-mile cycling tour around Lake Ontario, which will raise funds for tree research.
P-J photo by Dusten Rader
According to Brockelbank, the STIHL Tour des Trees will serve as a fundraiser for the Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to championing the cause of responsible public stewardship and expert professional care for the world's urban forests.
"The money we raise goes towards the TREE Fund," said Brockelbank. "Scientists, colleges and universities then apply to them for grant money to seed and start research. For instance, Cornell University has been awarded a grant in the past."
The tour will begin on July 28 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and will trace a 585-mile route around Lake Ontario. On the tour, Brockelbank and 99 other riders will plant trees and participate in educational programs for young audiences in addition to biking nearly 100 miles per day. The tour will conclude on Aug. 3 at Ontario's Toronto Island, which is the site of ISA's International Tree Climbing Competition and Arbor Fair.
"It's the first time that the bike tour has come through New York state," said Brockelbank. "So, I figured that it's pretty close to home, and it would be really neat to do. I've never received money from the TREE Fund, but, much of what I know as an arborist has come from its research."
There are a total of seven full-time riders from New York state who plan to complete the 585-mile tour. But, Brockelbank is the only rider from Chautauqua County. She hopes to raise $3,500 before the tour begins in July. To make a donation, visit www.stihltourdestrees.racepartner.com/2013-stihl-tour-des-trees/Brockelbank.
"Arboriculture is a young science, so for me to continue supporting the knowledge base and research is beneficial to everybody," said Brockelbank. "So far I've raised one-fourth of the goal, and I'm very happy for that."
According to the TREE Fund's website, www.treefund.org, since 1992, the STIHL Tour des Trees has generated more than $5.6 million and has funded a variety of research projects and educational programs for budding tree care professionals.
Brockelbank has never done a bike tour as challenging as the STIHL Tour des Trees before. So, to prepare for the bike tour, Brockelbank has been heading to the gym every morning. She also recently purchased the bike, a Vita Specialized, that she'll be using for the tour from Hollyloft, and now she can hit the road to start training. To follow Brockelbank's adventures, visit her blog at www.thearboristgypsy.blogspot.com.