On July 9th, 2020, the Covid-19 Memorial Forest Fund was launched with its first blog post. Since then we have embarked on a process to bring an idea to the public’s attention. That idea is one of planting a Forest in remembrance of the loved ones lost because of Covid-19.
Why we started the Covid-19 Memorial Forest project
You can trace the beginnings of this project and idea back to the start of February. My wife and I were watching the numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths begin to rise, and we were as worried as everyone else.
One of the things I found startling was the fact that the media kept focusing on the numbers. Each new hospital admission and each new death were just statistics. But each number reported was not, and is not, a statistic. Every number represents a real person with a story, a family, and friends who love them. I could not believe that we had no way of knowing who these people were and who they had left behind mourning their unexpected sudden deaths. It filled me with sadness, anger, but also a determination to do whatever I could to address this and help the people affected because of Covid-19.
I shared my feelings with a group consisting of family and friends. From those discussions came a determination to do something. We came up with the idea to plant a tree for every loved one lost . To plant a Forest to remember each and every person and also to find a way so that the loved ones lost were remembered as more than a number. A way for their names, lives, and stories to be shared and remembered.
A consultation period
So, we created Our Heroes Community Interest Company (CIC), whose sole aim is to help remember the loved ones lost through planting trees. We took our desire to help people and we launched this new organisation with no supporters and no budget.
Since then, we have been engaging with people to understand whether a Covid-19 Memorial Forest was wanted, and if so, what should be in that Forest (other than trees of course!). The response has been fantastic and our initial idea for a Forest has been evolved because of what our new growing follower base wanted.
One thing we got right was an almost overwhelming support for the concept of planting one tree for every life lost because of Covid-19. Other things we thought people would want we got completely wrong, for example, we thought people may wish to use the forest for cycling and recreation, but our supporters helped us understand that this space should be for tranquillity, reflection and learning. We will probably get more things wrong along the way, but we are confident that we will be put back on the right path if we keep listening to what our supporters want for their forest.
The initial consultation period we set ourselves to create the vision of what people think the Covid-19 Memorial Forest is now complete and we will be publishing a summary of that this week. We are now moving out of the Consultation period and into the next stage of our project. The next stage will bring our collective vision into reality.
Changing the project name to ‘The Forest of Memories’
The first step of this next stage is to announce a name change. We started with the name for this project of the ‘Covid19 Memorial Forest Fund’. It did what it said but we have now given the forest a name, ‘The Forest of Memories’. Going forward we will therefore be changing the name of this project in line with that name.
Over the next week, you will see our branding and URLs change to http://www.TheForestofMemories.com. You will also see our new themes of the Forest – Remembering, Accessibility, Education, sustainability and increasing biodiversity through unobtrusive technology. Our next blog this week will expand on these themes and also start to outline the help we will start to need to make the forest a reality. We can’t do that alone.
Join us on the journey
As always though, our team at the Forest of Memories encourage you to reach out to us personally, to get involved, ask questions, or make suggestions. It is for everyone we are on the journey to grow a Forest of Memories because of Covid-19. We can only do that with your support, so please, join us on that journey and help make the vision a reality.