April 16th: Planting a tree for Susie Stephens, bicycle advocate killed in St Louis

Since Susie Stephens, a bicycle and pedestrian advocate who helped found organizations like the Alliance for Biking and Walking, was killed by a tour bus in St Louis in 2002, bicycle and pedestrian groups have wanted to do something appropriate to honor her memory. 

Susie's mother, Nancy MacKerrow, has spearheaded an effort to plant trees in honor of Susie in every part of the world--a Susie Forest.

At the Pro Walk Pro Bike Conference in Chattanooga last September, Nancy connected with St. Louis area advocates and this special ceremony April 16th is the result:

SPECIAL CEREMONY TO BE HELD APRIL 16 ON ARCH GROUNDS TO HONOR THE MEMORY OF BICYCLING ADVOCATE, HIGHLIGHT THE IMPORTANCE OF PEDESTRIAN SAFETY
 
WHO:                   Representatives from Great Rivers Greenway, Trailnet and the St. Louis biking and pedestrian community; and Nancy MacKerrow, who founded The Susie Forest in honor of her daughter Susie Stephens.
WHAT:                 A special tree planting ceremony to raise awareness of pedestrian safety in honor of Susie Stephens, who was struck and killed in downtown St. Louis in 2002 while legally crossing the street. A proclamation will also be presented to Nancy MacKerrow from the City of St. Louis.
 
WHEN                  Saturday, April 16 at 11 a.m., which would have been Susie's birthday
 
WHERE:
               St. Louis Arch Grounds
Ceremony will take place just south of the South Walk leading to the South Leg of the Gateway Arch

 
SIGNIFICANCE:      As part of its commitment to improving pedestrian safety in the St. Louis area, Great Rivers Greenway is partnering with Susie Forest founder Nancy MacKerrow, whose daughter, Susie Stephens of Washington State, was struck and killed on March 21, 2002, while legally crossing the street in downtown St. Louis. The accident happened in the view of the Arch grounds, close to what was then known as the Adam's Mark Hotel. Susie had been helping to direct a conference on innovative approaches to transportation when she was killed. A tree will be planted near the South Leg of the Arch in honor of Susie, who was a strong advocate for bicycles for transportation, travel and recreation, as well as bicyclist and pedestrian safety.  
As a living, growing, legacy to Susie and her commitment to creating livable communities, her mother, Nancy MacKerrow, created The Susie Forest in 2003. The Susie Forest's mission is to plant trees, encourage others to plant trees and to educate people, especially children, about trees. Each tree planted is a reminder that life goes on and starts anew. Two trees are planted annually on the anniversary of Susie's death and her birthday to solely honor her memory, and the remaining trees in the Susie Forest are planted in honor of others throughout various communities.
In the last eight years, The Susie Forest has grown to 100 trees all over the world, from Washington D.C. to New Zealand to Iran. However, this is the first time MacKerrow will plant a tree in St. Louis to honor Susie's memory. Representatives from Great Rivers Greenway and Trailnet will be present on the morning of April 16 to raise awareness about the importance of pedestrian safety, to honor Susie and to encourage St. Louis to follow in Susie's footsteps by creating sustainable livable communities.
For more information about The Susie Forest, please visit http://thesusieforest.wordpress.com.
  

Planting the Susie Tree at the National Bike Summit, 2009