RETREET redefines disaster relief by engaging communities to replant lost trees.
BOULDER RETREET III June 2nd-5th, 2017
Our plan to return to Lyons, CO, a community of about 2,000 people 15 miles north of Boulder, began to formulate immediately upon the successful completion of BOULDER RETREET II. Local partners asked us to return the following year to attend to residents who were not ready to receive trees during our first planting in their community. We were quick to say yes. Talks also began with City of Lyons to generate a plan for the 28 barren buyout lots peppered throughout the confluence area, a storyline that continues to develop!
RETREET staff struck out for Boulder on Tuesday, May 30th, driving the RETREETmobile and new RETREET truck out-of-state for the first time. A host of activities awaited and the RETREET family was ready for this reunion. It was sure to be an excellent way to end the 2016/2017 planting season.
After checking into the amazing home we reserved 5 miles up Sunshine Canyon, we went for a hike, picked up food for the week, and set about finalizing our plans for the planting. Excitement built.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!
Most RETREETers arrived in Boulder on Thursday, June 1st. That evening, the group attended a Chromeo and Rüfüs du Sol concert at Red Rocks, one of the most incredible performance venues in North America. We danced the night away as the sunset gave way to the moonrise over Denver. It was truly magical.
WAITING FOR THE SHOW TO START AT RED ROCKS
The next morning, trees and supplies were delivered to Lyons by our partners The Home Depot and Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery. RETREETers spent most of the day unloading and distributing the materials to home sites. They also enjoyed a walk around the community, during which they visited trees planted the previous year, spoke with residents, and explored a newly-rebuilt park across the street from the confluence area. It was wonderful to see so much progress in Lyons and to know we'd played an important role.
The group then drove over the mountain to Jamestown, the location of our planting during BOULDER RETREET back in 2015. We met with a town representative at Jamestown Mercantile, a familiar haunt, and ordered an epic round of pizzas. While they were baking, the crew explored the small community and checked on the progress of the trees that were planted 2 years earlier. We are happy to report that the vast majority of them were doing incredibly well! Several locals came out to say hello and thank us for the impact we'd made.
VISITING TREES IN JAMESTOWN
The next day started off with a special treat. Unbeknownst to us, Sunshine Pottery Studio also called our rented abode home, and the proprietors of the Airbnb were the artists themselves. They offered a pottery class to the RETREETers, and the offer was heartily accepted. We spent the morning throwing clay on wheels and came away with some great creations, especially for first attempts. After the pottery class, the cadre went for a gorgeous hike through Lefthand Canyon. Some RETREETers were a bit more adventurous than others, scaling boulders and finding epic perches along the way. The only fitting way to end such a fantastic day was to whip up a big meal. Together, that's exactly what we did.
THROWING POTS AT SUNSHINE POTTERY
Following a solid sleep with full bellies, the RETREETers arose Sunday morning, June 5th, ready to plant trees. Joined by 26 Team Depot volunteers and supported by Colorado State Forest Service, the ensemble planted 55 native trees at 11 homes sites and in 3 buyout properties, the latter of which were to serve as a pilot for others, as aforementioned. Luckily, the weather was perfect. Digging conditions were tough, given a large amount of compaction and rocks washing into the soil by the flood, but the group persevered.
Most RETREETers headed home that evening or the following day, but not before we got in a good bike ride around Boulder. BOULDER RETREET III was a productive, relaxing, and meaningful experience. Can't wait for the next one! Special thanks to additional sponsors Lyons Garden Club and Lyons Lions Club.
BIKING AROUND BOULDER
SUNDAY SHOW & TELL vol.112
A major construction project is underway on the east coast of the US, one that will allow cyclists to visit 15 states on a single bike path. Stretching 3,000 miles, The East Coast Greenway will showcase 450 communities visitors on two-wheels, providing an amazing opportunity to travel the country. Let's do it!
EAST COAST GREENWAY (photo essay/video)
A massive fire swept through part of Spain in 2012, charring thousands of acres. When the ashes settled, a startling discovery was made. A group of cypress trees still stood tall and green. But why? Could these trees be used to lessen the impact future wildfires? Read about the enigma of the trees that resist the flames.
FIRE RESISTANT TREES (article)
Ramadan ended on July 5th, but this story continues to inspire. A 26-year-old woman named Nouran Salah in Egypt created a successful initiative to feed the poor by bicycle. She and her following deliver meals each of the 30 days of Ramadan, bringing Iftar to those in need. Learn more about Bel Bicycle below.
FEEDING THE POOR BY BICYCLE IN EGYPT (photo essay/video)
SUNDAY SHOW & TELL vol.108
Electric bicycles are all the rage these days. Plenty of fully articulated models are on the market, as are kits that allow you to transform your trusty steed into an effortless speed demon. The GeoOrbital Wheel has gone through six iterations thus far, and the newest model is their best yet. It doesn't get any easier than this.
GEOORBITAL WHEEL (video)
Books owe a lot to trees, especially being made from them, but it's the trees in books that caught our attention. Here are seven contenders for the best tree in literature. Have one of your own? Nominate it in the comments!
FAVORITE TREES IN LITERATURE (photo essay)
Rumor has it that The Chapel Oak is as old as France itself. It has witnessed some amazing moments in history and has been visited by the likes of Charlemagne and William the Conqueror. This incredible tree is home to two chapels and is whimsical in appearance. Read more about this incredible specimen at the link below.
THE CHAPEL OAK (photo essay)
SUNDAY SHOW & TELL vol.91
There's a new trend in the cycling community: riding as far as you can in one direction, then taking the train back home. Such multimodal transportation opens up entirely new adventures for those on two wheels. Read the article below for inspiration and check out what is available in your area.
RIDING ONE WAY (article)
Almost 100 years ago, a couple of discoveries led to the theory that there were once ancient trees that towered nearly three times as tall as today's giant redwoods. Imagine seeing a tree like that from 25 miles away!
GIANT ANCIENT TREES (article)
Despite the fact that it is considered socially unacceptable for women to ride bicycles in Egypt, a group called Go Bike is promoting just that. These women find empowerment winding through Cairo's chaotic streets while saving time and money.
EGYPTIAN FEMALE CYCLISTS (article)
SUNDAY SHOW & TELL vol.86
Over the years, numerous studies have shown that a walk through the woods, or "forest bath" as Japanese doctors describe it, is a great way to reduce stress and fatigue. However, a new study out of Australia takes that notion one step further. Believe it or not, even gazing for a moment at something green outside of your office window will calm you down and help you focus. Give it a try tomorrow at work!
GREEN BREAKS FOR YOUR BRAIN (article)
What's the difference between fall in North America and fall in Europe? One word: RED. Finnish and Israeli scientists followed a trail of research that led them back in time 35 million years in order to answer what brought about this striking difference in foliage.
DIFFERENCES IN FALL FOLIAGE (video)
One man, obsessed with the history of Abraham Lincoln's assassination, decided the only way he could fully understand the story was to retrace John Wilkes Booth's 12-day run from the authorities after having shot the President at Ford's Theater. Lacking a horse, he realized the best way to do it was by bike. Follow his fascinating journey of discovery.
BIKING AFTER BOOTH (article)
SUNDAY SHOW & TELL vol.84
Over the course of this year, every second grader in the D.C. public school system will be taught the ABCs of riding a bicycle. This innovative program makes use of 1,000 new bikes, purchased by the District Department of transportation with the help of private donors, that will rotate from one school to the next. An important part of a robust education.
D.C. KIDS LEARN TO RIDE BICYCLES IN SCHOOL (article)
After becoming an authority on living a nomadic lifestyle by traveling the world and living out of vans, photographer Foster Huntington created one amazing treehouse. His new home, Cinder Cone Treehouse, which he built in Skamania, WA, has its own skatepark. Not too shabby!
TREEHOUSE WITH SKATEPARK (photos)
Have you ever wanted to just get on your bike and go someplace far away? These lifehacks will help you along the way. A must-read list for any two-wheeled adventurer.
BIKEPACKING LIFEHACKS (list)
SUNDAY SHOW & TELL vol.76
Last week, a new scientific study out of University of Chicago built upon what a growing body of research has shown for years: living amid a thriving urban forest is good for your health. The sample included 30,000 residents of Toronto and 530,000 trees that have been catalogued by the city, and comparative analytics revealed some amazing findings. For the first time, quantifiable benefits of having mature trees in a neighborhood became available. One notable quote, for instance, was "having 10 more trees in a city block, on average, improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher median income or being 7 years younger." Interesting stuff! Read more about "Treelaxation" at the link below.
TREES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH (article)
Some people are content to rest in the shade beneath the trees, but others need a view from the top down. Professional climber Chris Sharma returned to his home state of California after nearly 10 years of living in Catalunya, Spain, in order to climb giant sequoias for scientific research. After an extensive career that established Chris as one of the best climbers in the world, this chance to reconnect with trees, the very reason he got into climbing in the first place, was one he couldn't miss.
FREE CLIMBING REDWOODS (video)
Also from the world of Red Bull, downhill mountain biker Aaron Gwin pops a tire just a few seconds after his start and, while he doesn't win the race, he puts a seriously epic run into the books. Amazing video!
ON FIRE WITH NO BACK TIRE (video)
BASTROP RETREET V February 7+8, 2015
Last weekend, 37 RETREETers from 5 different states and 2 foreign countries planted 163 trees at 33 homes in Bastrop, TX, in the wake of the 2011 wildfires, and 21 trees at Dove Springs Recreation Center in Austin, which serves an area severely affected by the Onion Creek Flood of 2013. It was an amazing effort made by a fantastic group of people.
Three weeks leading up to BASTROP RETREET V, we released a promo film that was shot by Shoot First Pictures and edited by FistCloud Productions. A moving piece that deftly showcased our ongoing efforts in Bastrop, it went a bit viral online. Give it a watch!
Aside from planting trees, RETREETers rode bikes, acquired skills, made friends, listened to live music, and enjoyed Texas history over the weekend. In partnership with TreeFolks, we hosted our third annual community event on Saturday night, February 7. Dubbed the MILLION TREE SHINDIG, it commemorated the planting of 1,000,000 pine saplings by TreeFolks and 767 hardwoods by RETREET, to date.
We want to thank all members of The communiTREE who contributed to BASTROP RETREET V, which would not have been possible without their support. These wonderful companies and organizations deserve our collective gratitude.