Fundraising in Florida: a double shot of sunshine in 2015

Florida’s tropical climate precipitated an unusual special events schedule for the TREE Fund in 2015. With the rollout for the STIHL Tour des Trees pushed back to October, Asplundh’s Golf Outing and the Raise Your Hand for Research auctions will launch the summer fundraising campaign in Orlando this August.

Donna Kemmerer and Patti Chipman of Asplundh

Golfers can get right into the “swing of things” at Asplundh’s annual golf outing to benefit the TREE Fund at the ISA Conference. Tee off for tree research and education on Sunday, August 9 on the immaculate Rees Jones- designed championship golf course at Falcon’s Fire Golf Club in Kissimmee. The four-person scramble format starts at 8:00 a.m. and wraps up with a festive awards luncheon. Get details and register at the TREE Fund website under Events.

Marla Eddy bids for that "must have" item!

Later that day, make the TREE Fund Silent Auction your “must-visit store on the Trade Show floor.” The Silent Auction opens on Sunday evening with a “We LOVE Our Donors” Celebration (cake included!) when the ISA Trade Show begins. Stop by booth #1514 for a slice and place your best bid on artisanal woodwork, art, jewelry, equipment, books and children’s items carefully chosen for tree enthusiasts. The Silent Auction closes on Monday at 3:30 p.m.

Take a break from your conference duties with a fun evening of socializing and spirited bidding for a great cause at the 2015 Raise Your Hand for Research Live Auction. The doors to Sun Ballroom C open at 5:45 p.m. Monday evening with a “Meet the Researchers” reception, offering a firsthand glimpse into the future of arboriculture. Test your aim at our Loops & Liquor Ring Toss Game; ring your favorite “adult beverage” to take it home. The auction excitement begins at 6:30 p.m. with bidding on the best table in the room – the Table of Distinction – complete with complimentary drink tickets, desserts and exclusive gifts for you and your friends. Next up is the popular Golden Ticket raffle, a chance to claim any live auction package for just $100. This year’s auction catalog features guilt-free vacations for sportsmen, wine lovers, photographers and beach babies, plus handcrafted art, industry perks and affordable indulgences. Proceeds from the auction fund the TREE Fund’s research and education budget. Find auction information and donation forms on the Auction page of our website; contact Karen Lindell to volunteer.

2014 Ottman Award winner Dick Rideout

86 cyclists of the 2015 STIHL Tour des Trees, having waited out Florida’s wilting summer heat, will roll out at last on October 25 from Orlando.  They’ll cycle west to the coast and take in some of Florida’s most beautiful beaches on their way to the Everglades, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. Rare orchids, ancient trees and the Everglades’ unique ecosystem will provide plenty of “Kodak moments,” and oceanfront dining, airboat rides and beach cruiser bike races will keep the fun factor high. Event supplies for the week will include an engraved beer stein for Team Wisconsin’s Dick Rideout, winner of the 2014 Ken Ottman Award for volunteer service to the TREE Fund. Dick will be recognized at the Tour’s Finale Dinner on Friday.

On a more solemn note, a tree dedication is planned to honor Terrill Collier, a longtime rider, sponsor and champion of the Tour des Trees and the TREE Fund, who lost his battle with cancer earlier this year. And Friday’s dinner program at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden will include dedication of a newly-planted Archangel ancient tree clone to honor Florida arborist and Tour rider John White on the 10th anniversary of his death.

Kids learning about trees with Professor Pricklethorn

TREE Fund researcher Dr. Ed Gilman and “certified Arborifessor” Professor Elwood Pricklethorn are the Florida Tour’s featured education presenters. Dr. Gilman’s after-dinner talk will highlight the impact of his research on modern arboriculture and the important role that Tour riders have played in funding it. Professor Pricklethorn (aka Toronto arborist and Tour rider Warren Hoselton) will deliver his interactive version of Arboriculture 101 to several hundred 3rd and 4th graders during the Tour, finishing the week at a community event to welcome the cyclists to Ft. Lauderdale’s Esplanade Park at noon on October 31.

Registration for the 2015 Tour is closed, but fundraising is in full swing. The 2015 Tour’s fundraising goal is $350,000 (excluding sponsor support). Competition among the cyclists and fundraising teams is fierce, and STIHL has sweetened the pot with a $500 merchandise certificate for one lucky donor during the week of June 15-21. Support your favorite Tour rider with a generous donation (fundraising closes October 1), and follow the Tour’s progress on Facebook and the Tour website October 25-31. Contact Mary DiCarlo for more information or to volunteer at a Tour event.