September 2022

"As a landscape architect, I work with trees on a daily basis. I admire, adore, and respect them. I am shaded and inspired by them. I value their impact on the world and will do all I can to preserve, protect, and nurture them. For all that it does to enhance the world of trees – through research and education, the TREE Fund is a valuable partner for me, and all who share my feelings about the canopy above."

--David Gorden, FASLA

Tour des Trees: Not done yet!

Seventy riders participated in this year's Tour des Trees, cycling around Iowa and finishing at the Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska. It was a wonderful week of friendship, trees, bikes, networking, and remembrance. You can see a gallery of great photos from the tour here. 

We visited several arboretums along the way, planted seven trees, rode over 450 miles, taught dozens of people the tree planting dedication song, and made lifelong friendships, doing this all while seeing the beauty of Iowa and welcoming nature of its residents. 

We are not done yet, though. We are creeping closer to our fundraising goal and every dollar helps. Donations can be made to riders or to the TREE Fund here until September 30. 

Keep an eye out this winter for information about the 2023 Tour des Trees in Reno, Nevada/ Lake Tahoe and join our cycling tree family!

Finding beauty and hope

in an unexpected place

By Russell King

TREE Fund president & CEO

We share a difficult time and place. The brutal effects of the pandemic, coupled with political discord, social division, attacks on science, and absurd levels of mendacity and cruelty can make life feel dark, grim, even hopeless. To keep my spirit from sinking, I consciously seek sources of beauty and hope. This month, I found a new source in an unexpected place.

I spent nine days with the staff, volunteers, and riders of the Tour des Trees, and it was good for my soul. It's a weird thing to say about being at work, I know, but over and over I was touched by what I witnessed.

We planted seven trees along our route. That, in itself, is a beautiful act of hope, but these plantings had even deeper meanings. Some were memorials to people we have loved and lost. As we planted a red oak in honor of Will Nutter, I stepped closer to the crowd of more than 100 so my remarks could be heard, and I felt the emotions of those gathered. When the air seems to glisten with love, you know it's a moment to savor. In each planting, riders were eager to help reunite the roots with the Earth. Our lighthearted group blessing for the trees seemed much deeper. 

We forged new friendships. Our new partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation is a great blessing. Arbor Day Foundation President Dan Lambe rode with us and hosted us at the Arbor Day Farm. I had the chance to chat with him and came to understand that he sees, as I do, the Arbor Day Foundation and the TREE Fund as complementary--not competing--nonprofit organizations. What we do helps them; what they do helps us. 

The tour had a number of new, younger riders, which is heartwarming and bodes well for the future. I appreciate their willingness to help raise funds for the TREE Fund, but I appreciate even more that they freely added their unique energy and humor to that of our veteran riders (looking at you, Professor Pricklethorn). It's noteworthy that they said they're riding with us because past and current riders talked to them about the tour. As always, it's the power of personal connection that is supreme. 

I was struck by the generosity and genuine warmth of our Iowa hosts. I'll be forever grateful to Wright Service Corp., Vermeer Corporation, Dr. Jeff Iles, Sam VanMaanen, Pete Smith, and the Iowa Arborist Association. Former TREE Fund staff member Maggie Volchko and newest TREE Fund staff member Heath Hupke, both stopped in to say hello and lend a hand. 

My cumulative experience--professional and personal--exceeds 100 years, so I've seen more than a few fundraising events, but never have I seen one this well planned and executed. I'm not alone: More than one of the riders--veterans of our tour and others--shared the opinion that this was one of the most well-run they've experienced. My hat's off to Jonathan Cain, Paul Wood, and the Tour des Trees Task Force.

As powerful as all that was, what hit me hardest was standing in the shade of a diverse canopy of human connection and compassion. I watched riders of a wide range of age, fitness, health, ability, experience, and social standing pull together, cheer each other's victories, encourage each other in moments of doubt, and lift each other in moments of weakness. Together, they completed an epic journey that required uncommon strength of both body and spirit. And they did it for a shared cause: Supporting the mission of the TREE Fund. 

There's beauty and hope in that. It was good for my soul. I trust it was for theirs, too.

Photo credits: Christopher Jackson

Nominations open

for the TREE Fund Board of Trustees

Several seats on the TREE Fund Board of Trustees will be open for election at the December board meeting. If you're interested--or know someone who would be a great trustee--please let us know

Lead Donors

We are deeply grateful to the following people and organizations who contributed $2,500 or more to the TREE Fund in August 2022:

Vermeer Corporation

Rocky Mountain ISA Chapter

New Jersey Arborists ISA Chapter 

Ohio ISA Chapter

Daniel Lippi

James R. Clark and Nelda P. Matheny

See the full list of lead donors who make our vital tree research and education work possible on our website.

TREE Fund essentials

If you've ever wanted to learn more about the TREE Fund, you'll want to visit our website. It's a treasure chest of good information. Here are links to key documents:

Who is on the TREE Fund Board of Trustees?

Annual report 2021

External assessment of the TREE Fund impacts and outcomes

Strategic Plan 2021-2024

Research grant opportunities

Scholarship opportunities

Research archive

Newsletter archive


How can I help?

I have questions. Who has answers?

Gratitude for the TREE Fund

Olivia Liebing, a student at Iowa State and winner of the 2022 Bonnie Appleton Memorial Scholarship sent this note of thanks:

Dear TREE Fund Trustees,

Thank you for supporting me through the Bonnie Appleton Memorial Scholarship. I am eager to seize the opportunities your support will allow me. I still get excited when I think about opening the award email. It feels unreal.

This summer, I have been interning in Wisconsin at North Wind Perennial Farms gaining experience in nursery work, landscaping, and plant communities. I still haven’t figured how my car will fit all the rescue saplings from being on the garden maintenance crew for the ride home. Thankfully, my green thumb is still developing and there are a few months for climate to cull them.

I was also lucky enough to work out a room and board arrangement for weekend labor for with Larry Ville Gardens, a neighboring vegetable farm. Trees have a huge presence here as well and we’re currently installing a food forest to act as a windbreak.

Your support is part of what fuels my journey and cultivates confidence in me to continue working towards my dreams. You also might have got me to add Tour des Trees to my to do list. Thank you.



Free Webinars for 2022

The TREE Fund is proud to partner with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System to bring you free education offerings. We are now able to accommodate up to 3,000 participants! 

Non-invasive tree root detection: What is the state of the art?

Tuesday, Nov. 1 at noon (Central Time)

Andrew Millward, PhD, and Justin Miron, PhD student, Ryerson University

Engaging underserved populations in community

tree management activities

Tuesday, Dec. 6 at noon (Central Time)

Jason Gordon, PhD, University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc.

The TREE Fund’s 1-hour webinars are free and offer 1.0 CEU credit for live broadcasts from the International Society of Arboriculture and the Society of American Foresters. Registration information becomes available on our website approximately one month before each webinar date. 

Missed a webinar? Watch it anytime on our website.

CEU Credit for Recorded Webinar

TREE Fund now offers ISA CEU credits for one recorded webinar: "Loading of a Tie-in Point While Climbing." If you missed this webinar, you can now watch the recording and earn ISA CEU credits by completing a 20 question quiz with 80% accuracy. Learn more on our website.

TREE Fund Achieves

Highest Rating

For the third consecutive year, the TREE Fund has reached Guidestar/Candid's highest level of achievement for nonprofit transparency--the platinum award. GuideStar is the world's largest and most authoritative source of information on nonprofit organizations. Major donors tend to look to GuideStar/Candid as the “seal of approval” before making donations.

Visit our Website
TREE Fund Crown Partners! 
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Linkedin  
1755 Park St. Suite #200, Naperville, IL 60563
(630) 369-8300
Donate now
TREE Fund is a 501(C)3 nonprofit with a mission to explore and share the science of trees contributing to the lives of people, communities, economies, and the environment, and of the planning, planting, and sustainability of urban and community trees.