Support Lori Brockelbank’s Fourth Tour des Trees to Benefit the TREE Fund

Lori Brockelbank (second from left) with fellow NYS riders.
Lori Brockelbank (second from left) with fellow NYS riders. Photo by R. Jeanette Martin

October 9-15, 2016, cyclists will experience a week of unforgettable scenery, cycling and camaraderie as the Tour des Trees rolls through the Piedmont region of North and South Carolina, starting and ending in Charlotte, NC. 

Tree plantings and community engagement are hallmarks of every Tour, and Professor Elwood Pricklethorn (aka Toronto arborist and veteran Tour cyclist Warren Hoselton) provides educational programs for young audiences along the way. The Tour also adds new trees to the growing urban forest planted by its cyclists.

Since 1992, the Tour des Trees has grown to become the largest fundraiser for tree research and education in the world. In 2015, it generated over $340,000 that will be used to support a variety of research projects and educational programs for budding tree care professionals. 

Lori Brockelbank: 

Four years ago, I embarked upon my first journey with the Stihl Tour des Trees to benefit the TREE (Tree Research and Education Endowment) Fund. I could not have known how much of an impact that one week would have on my life. I remember how hard that first tour was—I never knew my knees could hurt that bad from just pedaling a bicycle. I am happy to say that through three bike tours, my fellow bike riders became among my dearest friends. We have encouraged and learned from each other. The biggest lesson I have learned is that it’s okay to ask for help—and sometimes the nicest people will come along and help you without you even asking.

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WNY CommuniTREE Stewardship Program Completes Inaugural Training

Inaugural group of WNY CommuniTREE Stewards in spring of 2016. Photo by John Choczynski
Inaugural group of WNY CommuniTREE Stewards in spring of 2016. Photo by John Choczynski

By Lori Brockelbank, NYSUFC Treasurer and Certified Arborist/Municipal Specialist, Wendel Companies

The first-ever Western NY CommuniTREE Stewardship Program instruction has come to a close for most of the participants, but the learning and experience continues. You can read more about the program’s mission and partners on this earlier blog post. Out of the 20 people that initially signed up for the course, 13 completed the classroom requirements.

At the conclusion of the classroom sessions, I will admit I had my doubts about whether the students had truly received enough training to go out on their own. I know personally I learn more when I get my hands dirty and I am in the field applying the classroom instruction. A few of the students expressed the same concerns; for this reason each student is required to volunteer 10 hours of supervised field time doing tree planting and/or small tree pruning in a variety of places throughout the City of Buffalo. This field work is a great chance for students to get further coaching and ask questions.

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New CommuniTREE Stewards Program Launches in Erie County

Photo by Paul Maurer for first post
Sister Johnice of St. Adalbert’s Response to Love Center in Buffalo joined the community around the Broadway Fillmore area to help plant trees. Here, a priest from St. Adalbert’s blesses the new plantings. Photo by Paul Maurer

This is the first in a series of real-time reporting by NYSUFC Board Member Lori Brockelbank, who serves on the planning committee for this new Western NY CommuniTREE Stewards program.  

Snow days from school in early October in Western New York—not a chance! But that is exactly what happened on October 12, 2006 to the City of Buffalo and surrounding communities. With leaves still on many trees, the heavy wet snow left Western NY with a challenge unlike any in the past. Thousands of trees were damaged; some needed pruning while many needed removal.

To coordinate replanting efforts after the storm, Re-Tree WNY (Re-Tree) was formed to help replace the vast canopy that was lost. Over the last ten years, the thousands of trees lost in the October 2006 storm have been replaced by Re-Tree’s volunteers, the City of Buffalo, and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy.

In 2016, community partners have come together to take a natural next step in the care of these young trees by organizing a CommuniTREE Stewards (CTS) program. The intent of CTS is to train project volunteers to nurture the trees planted since 2006 and also be part of future plantings. CTS is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Erie County, with partners that include the City of Buffalo, Re-Tree, the Buffalo Green Fund, and Wendel Companies. We looked to similar programs, specifically Onondaga County CCE CommuniTREE Stewards, for guidance on how to organize the training for a similar program in Erie County.

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Lori Looks Back on the Tour des Trees 2015

Riders from behind
Tour des Trees riders started out in Orlando and ended in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Flu-stricken Lori is among them! Photo by R. Jeanette Martin

Last fall, our esteemed Council Treasurer Lori Brockelbank participated for her third year in a row in the STIHL Tour des Trees to benefit the TREE fund. The money raised supports research toward better methods for propagation, planting and care of urban trees. The Tour also funds education programs aimed at connecting young people with the environment and with career opportunities in the green industries.

Team NY 2015
Team New York, from left: Rex Webber, Frazer Pehmoeller, Lori Brockelbank, Deanna Zoerb, Jacques Brunswick, and Louise Desjardins. Photo by R. Jeanette Martin

Lori joined riders in Florida during the week of October 25-31. Lori rode as much of it as she could, given that she came down with the flu! Read on for an account from Lori. First, some interesting stats from the 2015 Tour des Trees:

*The 2015 riders raised a total of $320,000 for the Tree Fund.
*There were six riders representing New York State.
*There were 85 riders total, nine of whom were new to the Tour.
*New York placed second among all the chapters in the amount of money raised ($30,873) (Team Ohio was the biggest fund raiser).
*The total route was approximately 575 miles.
*The 2016 tour will be October and will be hosted in the Carolinas.
*Twelve trees were planted on the tour, including three memorial trees.

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Getting to Know Council Treasurer Lori Brockelbank

Lori on TdT ride
Lori (center) with fellow Tour des Trees riders in Wisconsin in 2014. Photo by R. Jeanette Martin

Like so many of our members, Council Treasurer Lori Brockelbank is living a big, passionate life. This includes riding for the third year in a row in the STIHL Tour des Trees to benefit the TREE fund. Lori will join riders headed to Florida to ride 500 miles during the week of October 25-31.

Full-tour cyclists commit to raising at least $3,500 for the TREE Fund. The money raised supports the discovery of better methods for propagation, planting and care of urban trees.

Lori with Tour des Trees friend Frazer Pehmoeller
Lori with Tour des Trees friend Frazer Pehmoeller

The Tour also funds education programs aimed at connecting young people with the environment and with career opportunities in the green industries. You can support Lori’s TEAM NY here, and you can read about Lori’s Tour des Trees experiences—and many other things going on in Lori’s life—on her blog, The Gypsy Arborist, and on a TAKING ROOT blog post from last year.

Can you tell us about childhood influences that foreshadowed getting interested in arboriculture and urban forestry?
Lori Brockelbank: I grew up in an area surrounded by a swamp and forest that I would explore with my dogs in tow, and on Sunday mornings my dad and I would ride our horses on the nearby trails. We also had a wood burning stove, so my summers were spent in part logging with my dad—not my favorite thing to do. I had a book that I would use for pressing leaves during the summers and I remember decorating the walls in my bedroom with colorful fall leaves. In fifth grade, I attended conservation field days where I was introduced to the environmental field. It stuck with me and I do believe that is what ultimately led me to my career.

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David Moore: Get to Know Him!

RELEAF 259David Moore is a city forester at the New York City Parks Department and serves on the Executive Council of our NYS Urban Forestry Council. How did he get here? What’s great and challenging about it? What are some of his other passions and interests that might surprise you?  

What were your childhood influences that foreshadowed getting interested in urban forestry? David Moore: Well, I never could have predicted that I’d be working in this field, but I always enjoyed trees and had an interest in biology. I can recall some really exciting science teachers in middle school and high school that helped spark my interest. By the time I was 12 or so, I started spending my summers at camp in the Adirondacks where I could ramble around the mountains and lakes and learn to be a real outdoorsman in all the primitive splendors of the North Country. Those experiences really laid the groundwork for my future path in forestry.

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Lori Brockelbank’s Tour des Trees Adventure Continues

NYSUFC Treasurer Lori Brockelbank is preparing for her second year in the STIHL Tour des Trees, a weeklong cycling event which benefits the TREE (Tree Research and Education Endowment) Fund. This year, riders will traverse Wisconsin from July 27-August 2 and will stop in Madison, Door County, Green Bay, and at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, among other places. 

Each full-Tour cyclist commits to raising $3,500 for the TREE Fund. Since 1992, the Tour has raised more than $6.6 million for tree research and education programs, making possible more than 400 TREE Fund research grants focused on arboriculture and urban forestry and the safety of the tree care workforce since 1976, along with scholarships for college students across the country.

Lori group Tour des Trees
Lori Brockelbank (second from left) with fellow Tour des Trees riders. Photo by R. Jeanette Martin

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