Xerces member Justine Burt, of Palo Alto, California, is gearing up to embark on an epic adventure for invertebrates. This September, Justine will bike hundreds of miles from Burlington, Vermont to Bar Harbor, Maine, to raise awareness and funds for invertebrates! Justine will ride with a non-profit organization called Climate Ride that provides cyclists, hikers, and runners a unique opportunity to merge environmental passion, love of physical activity and philanthropic commitment.
After learning about Xerces through a Bee Better Certified label on a package of blueberries, Justine says “I had been looking for a non-profit to support that was doing great work to help bring back the bee populations.” Bee Better Certified partners with farmers and food companies to establish high quality habitat on farmland to conserve bees and other pollinators.
Now, Justine and her husband are slated to cycle 399 miles for a cause with dozens of others from Burlington to Bar Harbor over six days. Justine commented, “It’s through the White Mountains of New Hampshire so there will definitely be some elevation. We have been training since April, which is pushing us to get into shape”. Climate riders such as Justine provide an example of a creative solution for inspiring change and protecting invertebrates and their habitats, all while riding through beautiful scenery. If you’d like to cheer on Justine on her upcoming ride for Xerces, we encourage you to donate to her Climate Ride page.
Before becoming a cyclist for conservation, Justine grew up in the Northern Maryland countryside in an old stone farmhouse built in 1792, surrounded by dairies and horse farms. She recalls her earliest encounters with invertebrates: “on hot summer days at the nearby creek, the iridescent wings of dragonflies mesmerized me. The visiting monarch butterflies that fluttered through our property always caught my attention.” When asked to pick her favorite invertebrate, she chooses fireflies, stating “fireflies blinking across the lawn are magical”.
Justine currently works as an environmental sustainability consultant, acting as the project manager for the Richmond Green-Blue New Deal catalyzing green jobs for residents of Richmond, CA. Justine is also the executive director of the Palo Alto Transportation Management Association in Palo Alto, CA, working to help essential workers shift their commute from driving to taking mass transit or biking.
Update: Justine reported that the ride was amazing! She rode over 300 miles with 15,000 total degrees of elevation gain across three states. We're proud of Justine and her husband and we're so grateful for all of the funds raised!