The Covid19 Memorial Forest fund are pushing forward with the creation of a forest of remembrance for the loved ones lost because of Covid-19. Based on feedback and ideas from people so far, that forest is now bigger in ambition than we had first envisaged. But what is the vision now, and what will the name of the Forest be?
What a journey!
The idea of the Covid19 Memorial Forest started back in May, when a group of ordinary people came together with a common goal. Our goal was to find a way that we could help people remember and celebrate the lives of those lost to Covid19. As well as thanking the unsung heroes of the pandemic who have worked tirelessly for the betterment of our communities.
It’s been quite a journey! When we started, we didn’t know exactly how we would achieve our goal. So, we started putting out ideas, listening to people, and learning what people wanted.
The support and comments we have received have helped us get to the point where, today, we are ready to share with you what the Covid-19 Memorial Forest will be, and what we think it should be called.
We are in the process of looking for suitable land for the Forest, but in the meantime, we wish to check that our thoughts so far (based on the ideas we are being given by everyone) are going in a direction people will support.
The ‘Forest of Memories’ concepts
Because of Covid-19 our nation has incurred human tragedy on an historic scale. It requires something more than a concrete memorial or statue to mark these times. A forest (we are told by people) would be a fitting tribute that would provide remembrance, signify regeneration & growth, and help protect future generations against climate change.
The Covid19 Memorial Forest Fund want to help people see the forest they have told us they want to become a reality. We think that forest should be called ‘The Forest of Memories’.
The Forest of Memories will, of course, contain natural elements of trees and wildlife that will be a place for people to enjoy for days out, and help people relax and be soothed by nature. But, the Forest will also contain ways for visitors to interact with ‘memories’ in the forest. The aim will be to help people learn, understand, reflect, heal, and even be inspired to actions that make the world a better place.
There are 3 key concepts that we believe will help us achieve these aims are:.
- A tree for every life lost
- Creating a new concept called a ‘Memory Tree’
- Introducing themed ‘Groves & Gardens of reflection’
.We believe by adopting these concepts in the forest design, and combining the use of augmented reality and nature, we can create a Forest that will achieve the aims we have set above. However, we are putting these ideas to people to obtain their final feedback and ensure this is the forest they wish to see in remembrance of these historic times.
You can complete the survey to provide your feedback and views by clicking here.
1. A tree for every life lost
The Forest of Memories will be dedicated in the name of the over 65,000 lives lost during the Covid-19 pandemic. Lives lost because of the Covid-19 virus but also the lives lost because of the lock-down measures and their impact on people.
There are more than 65,000 excess deaths in the UK this year. These deaths are being attributed to the effects of the Covid-19 virus and the impact of lock-down measures on society. We would like to honour the memory of each of these people within the Forest of Memories by symbolically planting a tree for each life lost.
This is a concept we have been told so far people would wish to see. What do you think?
2. Memory Trees
Whilst a forest is a tribute on a grand scale for loss of life, we do not feel that the Forest of Memories should only contain ‘faceless’ trees as each tree will each represent an individual life. We believe that the Forest should be exactly what the name suggests, a forest that is full of memories.
We are proposing therefore that The Forest of Memories will use technology to create an interactive experience using a smartphone and augmented reality that can be used to interact with memories throughout the forest.
Where a tree has been dedicated in the memory of someone, we plan that visitors will be able to interact with the tree and see the story of that person. That story may be something written, a video. or photos dedicated by people who knew them perhaps. Their ‘Memory Tree’ will help that person’s story live in more ways that only a name or a memorial plaque would.
Think of a headstone you may have seen with a name of a person you didn’t know. Like most people, you may have wondered who that person was. But what if you could see not only their name, but also what their family and friends said about them, what their life story was?
Now think of a tree planted in memory of someone instead of a headstone. A Memory Tree would be that living breathing tree that helps fight climate change. But the Memory Tree would also give the ability for people to interact with the tree and view memories of that person. Their name could live on to any visitor who to their tree. Their friends and families could visit that special place for them whenever they wished, and all see the memories left in that Memory Tree.
Now think of 10’s of thousands of these trees. A Forest full or memories to be explored and cherished. This is a key idea for The Forest of Memories that we would like people’s views on.
3. Groves / Gardens of reflection
The final concept for The Forest of memories is one of ‘Groves & Gardens of reflection’.
Throughout the Forest of Memories, we could create ‘Groves & Gardens of Reflection’. Each Grove/Garden could be highlighting (for example) a specific human challenge that has been highlighted by this pandemic. Challenges such as cancer, homelessness, climate change, or mental health. Each of these areas could be sponsored by charities concerned with each subject e.g. Cancer Research, Shelter, Samaritans etc.
Visitors would use technology such as augmented reality to interact with the installations in the Groves/Gardens. Helping people engage with the subjects, reflect, and perhaps gain strength from other people’s stories and memories. If they didn’t wish to use technology, they could of course simply sit and reflect in peace and quiet.
Tell us your views
Are the concepts we have proposed what people would like to see for a Covid-19 Memorial Forest?
We want your feedback on the proposals to be included in our thinking as we finalise the concepts before we take this forward to the final forest design stages. To make your views count, please complete the survey.