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TREE Fund Liaison – Update

Your Midwestern Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture continues to be a major player in funding and supporting the TREE Fund (Tree Research and Education Endowment).  Established via a merger of the Research Trust of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the National Arborist Foundation of the National Arborist Association (now the Tree Care Industry Association – TCIA), the TREE Fund identifies and funds programs that support the discovery and dissemination of new knowledge in arboriculture and urban forestry.  In addition, the TREE Fund promotes the study of arboriculture through college scholarships and support of educational programs for children ages 5 – 18. 


Most recently, your Chapter donated $2,000 to the TREE Fund After Hours event held at the recent ISA Annual International Conference and Trade Show in Fort Worth, Texas.  And later this fall, MWISA will be sponsoring three riders from our Chapter (John Harthoorn, Maggie Harthoorn, and Peter Smith) as they “Cruise the Carolinas” in the 610-mile excursion better known as the STIHL Tour des Trees.  Each rider is required to raise $3,500, a large portion of which goes back to the TREE Fund to support arboriculture research and educational opportunities.  You should be proud that your chapter takes such a prominent and leading role in support of safe, science-based arboricultural practices.


As you may know, the STIHL Tour des Trees (the TREE Fund’s signature fundraising event) has been held separate from the ISA’s Annual Conference for the past two years, but in 2017 the two will come back together in Washington D.C.  In my opinion these two events should overlap, and what better place to reinstitute that tradition than in our nation’s capital.  And who knows, maybe we can entice President Clinton/Trump to join us as we circle the city?  You won’t want to miss that!


By Jeff Iles
Professor and Chair, Iowa State University Department of Horticulture
Former TREE Fund Liaison (Retired)


Tour des Trees: Pedaling for Trees

By Pete Smith
Urban Forestry Program Manager
Arbor Day Foundation


It’s Sunday, and for the first morning in a week we must fend for ourselves. There’s no white board with times and instructions, no rider briefing, no luggage drop, no early breakfast, no sunscreen, and (relief) no spandex. Some of us are lost, wandering the hotel lobby, waiting for a friendly face or an Uber ride to the airport. There’s a genuine sense of accomplishment (and a slight tan) washing over our faces as we each depart for home…or at least the place we live; many of us have found a true home in the Tour des Trees family.



TREE Fund awards empower new nature programs for youth and healthier urban trees

The Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund (TREE Fund) is pleased to announce the first of its 2016 grant awards totaling over $160,000 for urban tree research and arboriculture education in the U.S. and abroad. TREE Fund expects to award nearly $300,000 in additional grants by year end, disbursing nearly $3.0 million since its inception in 2002.

 Click here for the 2016 TREE Fund Spring Cycle Awards Announcement



2015 STIHL Tour des Trees – Florida Style!

Many of you reading this probably have visited the SunshineState…Florida.  I’ve been there several times myself, usually in late winter or early spring, but never in October…and never experiencing the state on two wheels.  But that was my quest and good fortune several weeks ago as I was privileged to ride in my sixth Tour des Trees.  The Tour always brings surprises, and this year was no different. 

First, I was surprised at just how blasted hot it was!  I don’t know what I was expecting, but the heat and humidity were cranked up as if were mid-summer in Iowa!  But I was thankful for the warm temperatures, especially on those days when the monsoon rains moved in.  And did it rain!  The good thing about getting wet is that once you’re wet, you can’t get any wetter! 

Secondly, I was surprised we didn’t get to see more gators!  I thought for sure we’d be dodging gators throughout the ride, but the only ones I saw were lounging in ponds or canals and looking very disinterested in those “meals on wheels” riding by.  I want you to know that in preparation for the Florida ride, I spent considerable time on-line learning how to wrestle and defend myself from alligator attack, and it was kind of disappointing those skills were never called upon. 

Third…..Florida soils!  I mean, how do you get anything to grow in 100 percent sand?  Living in Iowa, you get used to seeing those dark brown, fertile soils or the compacted, heavy clay soils in new housing developments.  Not the case in Florida.  Nope….but digging holes in beach sand is infinitely easier than pounding through heavy clay.

Over the course of the week there were lots of great happenings and memories.  Day one was long, hot, and windy, and I was very glad to dismount after riding 110 miles in those conditions.  Days two and three saw us peddling down the GulfCoast through some mighty elegant enclaves.  I have never seen a multi-million dollar home before, but I’m pretty sure some of the “shacks” we rode by were in that price range.  Can you imagine the monthly mortgage payment?  Or maybe you just pay cash for homes like that, eh?

I did take a spill this year.  It was day four and I was having a particularly good morning.  We had just survived a downpour, and the mid-morning break was just over the next bridge.  And that’s when I saw it!  An unexpected aluminum track running parallel to the road, just wide enough for a bike tire.  I was going about 18 m.p.h. and didn’t have time to take evasive action…and you know how bike tires like to find imperfections in the road.  It didn’t take long to hit the ground, but as I play the incident over and over again in my mind, it all seemed to happen in slow motion.  I think I bounced once or twice before coming to a stop.  Nothing broken but I left considerable skin and blood on the highway.  Thankfully a fellow rider who had taken the day off from riding was following behind in his SUV and he and his wonderful wife scooped me up and brought me to the rest stop.  Some gauze and several bandages later, I was good as new and back on the road, but a much more cautious rider for the rest of the ride.

The high point of the ride might have been the police escort we received as we rode into Coral Gables.  And a good thing too…roads were busy, congested, and just a little bit crazy.  But as we rode in, people along the route waved and cheered as if were some kind of weird traveling circus.  And when you think about it, I guess we were.  People riding bikes over great distances, all for the purpose of raising money and awareness for trees and tree research.

And of course, you all (ISA Midwestern Chapter) were instrumental in funding my participation in the Tour.  Your generous donation and support made it possible for me to represent you and forward our cause, of creating and maintaining healthy and sustainable urban and community forests.

Thank you!

By Jeff Iles
Professor and Chair, Iowa State University Department of Horticulture
Midwestern Chapter – ISA Board of Directors 


TREE Fund Bulletins:

TREE Fund 04-2016 Bulletin
TREE Fund 05-2016 Bulletin
TREE Fund 06-2016 Bulletin
TREE Fund 07-2016 Bulletin
TREE Fund 08-2016 Bulletin
TREE Fund 09-2016 Bulletin
TREE Fund 10-2016 Bulletin
TREE Fund 11-2016 Bulletin
TREE Fund 12-2016 Bulletin

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