The core themes that will be built into The Forest of Memories

W
e are growing Forests of Memories to remember the loved ones lost because of Covid-19.  The plans for the Forest are that they will be created with love for those we have lost today and built on principles of sustainability, accessibility, and education to benefit future generations.  All these things will be supported by the use of new technology, whilst still maintaining peace and tranquillity with the Forests.

REMEMBRANCE

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The primary reason for The Forest of Memories is to allow people to remember the 65,000+ loved ones lost in the UK so far because of Covid-19.  The loved ones lost are not a pandemic statistic but are real people, with real lives and each has their own story.  The Forest of Memories will offer a place of tranquillity, peace and reflection to keep a persons memory alive.  Through the Groves of Reflection, the Forests will also remember those impacted by humanitarian issues highlighted in society through this pandemic.

People who have lost a loved one can dedicate trees within the Forest of Memories to their loved ones and will be able to erect a memorial plaque. In this way, we aim to help people, and our UK nations, begin to heal and also honour someone through the use of nature in a way that generations can benefit from for decades and centuries to come.

SUSTAINABILITY

A forest is something that helps us all combat global warming. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the air, store carbon in the tree and soil, and release oxygen into the atmosphere.

With correct planning, forest areas also provide a natural habitat to thousands of species of animals and insects. To extend this further still we will be creating relationships and partnerships with groups that will help plan and create biodiversity within the Forest of Memories.  It will also be ensured that any power requirement for running the Forest and facilities will be sourced from renewable energy and that the Forest is managed in a sustainable way.

ACCESSIBILITY

58% of fatalities from Covid-19 have been reported to have been from disabled groups.  It is therefore important, we believe, that Accessibility should be at the heart of the forest design. Our aim is to make the Forest of Memories truly accessibility for all. We wish for wheelchair, mobility and pram accessibility throughout the walkways, in a way that doesn’t offend the landscape or people’s sensibilities, use material that complements the surrounds and doesn’t contradict the environmental message that underlies the forest.

Dependent on the landscape, terrain and scale we hope to be able to offer mobility hiring arrangements so that different ages and all abilities feel included in the forest.  The ability to access information, and interact with memorial areas, will be made accessible in appropriate ways to all groups. The needs of hearing or vision impaired and the access needs of different age groups will be addressed in the Forest design.

EDUCATION

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana
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In addition to keeping memories of individuals alive and shared with Forest visitors, the Forest of memories will also be designed to allow people to learn about other societal issues that affect everyone at a humanitarian level. Through the Groves of Reflection themes such as Mental Wellbeing, The Environment, and Technology’s impact on society will be explored. Issues in these areas existed before the pandemic but have been highlighted during it.  Through the intelligent use of technology different age groups will be encouraged to interact with these themes with content designed for them.

The other element that will be applied in the development of the theme of education will be to teach different ages about the natural world and to encourage engagement with the Forest environment. This will be done in a manner that will be engaging and in factful so to better engage with the audience whether a Key Stage 3 school outing or family outing into the woodlands.

TECHNOLOGY

We live in a digital society and what better way to communicate with new and older generations is to reflect this by using Technology to support the purpose of The Forest of Memories.  Technology will support the areas already mentioned above for the other forest themes.  The remembrance will be supported by technology through a unique Memory-Trees experience, and interacting with Groves of Remembrance, with technology will aid education.  In both cases, Accessibility will be supported using this same technology for both vision and hearing-impaired people.

The Technology uses will support the Forest Themes and benefit many Forest visitors but will, of course, need to be unobtrusive and not impact the goals of tranquillity, peace and reflection at the heart of The Forest of Memories.