Getting ready for the ride of her life, Tidewater Community College Horticulture Assistant Professor Kristina Bezanson will make a 585-mile, week-long journey on her bicycle to fund tree education and research.
A registered rider for the STIHL Tour des Trees, Bezanson will ride through the Oregon Trail, beginning in Portland, Ore., on August 5.
The trek will take her through Oregon’s coastline, vineyards, high desert and the Columbia River Gorge, with Douglas firs and Mount Hood providing the backdrop for a visually spectacular week.
“I’m passionate about trees and feel this is a great way to give back,” Bezanson says. “It’s an amazing experience to gather with 100 riders from different walks of life and share our passion for trees and bicycle riding.”
This is Bezanson’s second Tour des Trees. She has been training for this trip since December 2011. “While it’s been mentally and physically challenging, this is personal for me,” she says, “While doing my graduate studies at Virginia Tech, much of our work was funded by the Tour des Trees and the TREE fund.”
Along the way, Tour des Trees riders will participate in educational events and plant trees in a variety of communities. “Trees provide so much to humans, from oxygen to shade to food. It feels good to be part of something like this.”
An ISA Certified Arborist, Bezanson’s favorite class is HRT 259 Arboriculture. “I’m nuts about trees,” she adds. Bezanson shares her time with tree-related groups and serves as the vice president of the Virginia Urban Forest Council.
Though Bezanson started her career as a professional photographer shooting landscapes, she quickly determined that she’d rather be in the landscapes than the dark room. She retrained, and has worked in the horticulture industry for more than 20 years. She joined TCC as a faculty member in 2009.
“During the tour, I’m looking forward to cycling through spruce and fir forests, and dipping my tired toes in the Pacific Ocean,” Bezanson says “And, of course, sampling the local culture.
“But my main goal is to take proper care of trees. By supporting Tour des Trees, we fund new data on tree care and safety and make a real difference for the planet.”
To learn more about Bezanson’s ride visit stihltourdestrees.org.