After experiencing the thrill of participating in the 2013 STIHL Tour des Trees, this Arbor Day a Sinclairville woman is looking forward to taking on the challenge for a second time.
Last year, Lori Brockelbank, a Sinclairville native and certified arborist for FORECON Inc. Forestry Consulting in Falconer, celebrated the completion of the 585-mile STIHL Tour des Trees with a tree-planting ceremony held on Ontario's Toronto Island.
Brockelbank's two sons, Mathew and Johnathan, met with her at the end of the tour to participate in the final tree planting. She said she felt the experience was incredibly beneficial to herself, her family, the communities she visited along the tour and the Earth, so she signed up again.
Lori Brockelbank, certified arborist for FORECON, Inc. Forestry Consulting in Falconer, is pictured receiving the New York State DEC Urban Forestry Partnership Award from Robert Davies, state forester, and Mary Kramarchyk, urban forestry program manager.
"Last year was incredible," Brockelbank said. "Not only did I learn from fellow riders about our profession, but I learned more about myself, my limitations and how to go beyond them. Having their (Mathew and Johnathan's) belief that I could do it got me through every single day."
This year's tour, which is set for July 27 through Aug. 2, will take Brockelbank on a 583-mile trip around Wisconsin. Stops along the way include: Milwaukee, Madison, Wisconsin Dells, Stevens Point, Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay and Port Washington. Although the tour is a couple miles shorter this year, Brockelbank said she learned a few things about training during last year's tour, and she'll apply the practices to her regiment this time around.
"Last year I trained harder, and this year I'm training smarter," Brockelbank said. "I'm looking forward to it not only professionally to learn from peers and fellow arborists, but also to keep growing as a person."
The STIHL Tour des Trees serves as a fundraiser for the Tree Research and Education Endowment Fund, which according to its mission statement is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting sustainable communities and environmental stewardship by funding research, scholarships and education programs essential to the discovery and dissemination of new knowledge in the fields of arboriculture and urban forestry.
Each rider who participates in the STIHL Tour des Trees raises a $3,500 donation for the TREE Fund as a registration fee. Brockelbank is one of only two riders from New York state participating in the tour. Those interested in offering her support may visit www.crowdrise.com and search for "Brockelbank." In addition to the monetary donation, participants make an impact by educating via workshops and planting trees along their route.
"It's not a competition at all, it's a dedication - to the trees and the TREE Fund," Brockelbank said.
For more information about Brockelbank, and to follow her on her cycling adventure, visit thearboristgypsy.blogspot.com.