Energizing Your Future

STIHL Tour des Trees, Day 4 – July 30: Stevens Point to Green Bay

“Hey – it’s Ben Gura again from the Tour des Trees. Days like today are the ones I love! The weather was perfect and the roads were scenic and rolling. We started our day early and managed to have gelato by 9 a.m. I had 47 miles to lunch and was excited to see all of my peers in New London from ATC. During those miles, I reflected on why I signed up for the Tour a second time.

Simply put – it’s the impact that the Tour has on the communities it touches. Each of these towns opens their arms to the Tour when we ride through. It seems that community members love seeing all of the riders decked out in their matching kits – plus they’re happy to feed and hydrate us! The message that the Tour sends about the value and importance trees on the environment and community is always heard by the residents who attend the tree dedications and the educational presentations.
When we made it to lunch all of my peers had the ATC Grow Smart tent set up and were assembling the giveaway bags that the kids got to bring home. They received books about trees, purple coneflower seed packets, a kid’s activity guide and other goodies too. Melinda Myers was there to greet the kids, talk about Grow Smart and answer any gardening questions that the guests had. We had some other special guest as well including the mayor of New London.
There were about 50 kids present who got to hear “Professor Elwood Prickethorn” give his tree presentation. It was great to see the kids getting involved and learning about trees and planting “the right tree in the right place.” After the presentation, the kids dedicated a tree in a very special Tour des Trees way.

The dedication starts with a clap of the hands above your head. Then we
rub our hands together to make energy. Next the energy is transferred to the trees roots by pointing our hands at the roots, wiggling our fingers and saying “the roots, the roots are on fire.” Then it ends in a loving rendition of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” but instead the lyrics go: ‘All we are saying…is give treesa chance.’ Some of the kids get embarrassed about doing this but most think it’s really fun. It was great to see my ATC friends and the kids that get to hear the ATC and Tour des Trees message.

The day ended 53 miles later with a tree dedication to a special kid who’s life was impacted by a car crash, followed by a lovely dinner at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
Now, just three days of riding remain and my legs are getting stronger. We’re heading to Sturgeon Bay on Thursday, but cross your fingers for a strong north wind on Friday as we had 120 miles to ride down to Port Washington.”