By: Robert Jones, Team STIHL cycling team, STIHL Tour des Trees
This year is my third time participating in the STIHL Tour des Trees. Growing up in the countryside in North Carolina, trees were a big part of my life, even though at the time I didn’t realize the mutual relationship we need to have to keep them healthy and strong. Because of the continued support of STIHL, I learn more each year we are able to come back.
Robert Jones, STIHL Inc.
Photo by 'Shutterjet/R. Jeanette Martin'
My first Tour in Oregon was one of the toughest, most rewarding things I had ever done. And on last year’s ride through New York and Canada, we met a New York-based research team partially funded by TREE Fund. They were working on a cure using a wheat gene for a disease called blight that was taking out the American Chestnut Tree, and I was able to see firsthand what this fundraiser supports.
I am proud to be a part of something that champions these urban forestry projects. From increasing property values by putting the right tree in the right place to helping hospital patients heal quicker when exposed to trees, we are continuing to enhance the lives of our towns and their surrounding environments.
Every day on the Tour, I take away a new bit of information from our interactions with other riders, as well as those in the communities along the route. These past two days in Milwaukee and Madison have continued to enlighten me with stops to the University of Wisconsin-Madison arboretum and in the towns along the route.
While we expand our knowledge each day, our relationships grow as well. It feels great to know that I’ve been welcome into this “tree” family with open arms; and, together, we have an everlasting effect on future generations and the planet.
While the Tour is known for many things to many people, I look forward to the tree dedications where we pledge to help the trees grow healthy and strong. And, maybe most importantly, I love seeing the young generations being engaged in the tree world. Each time Professor Pricklethorn pulls out a prop for a kid to wear, you see their faces light up, and you know this mission will live on for years to come.
The STIHL Tour des Trees has provided a forum for many different industries to work together for a common goal. At STIHL, I work in export shipping, it’s not often that I get to interact with our end users, and I appreciate this opportunity to meet those that use our products. I will continue to ride as long as I can.