Throughout history, trees have been planted to commemorate special events, mark achievements and dedicated as living memorials to those who have left us. Trees can last for generations, their growth throughout the years emphasising and celebrating life and their ever-changing beauty, and that of the insects, birds and mammals they attract, enjoyed by everyone.
It is unsurprising, therefore, that tree dedications have become a popular way for people to donate to the Heart of England Forest, while giving a special and unique gift to family and friends. With a variety of different dedications available, including a personally worded tag attached to a young native broadleaf tree, or joining a member of the Forest team to plant a young sapling with a dedication plaque, there really is something for everyone.
A wander through the dedication area of Dorothy’s Wood to read the tags can tell you all kinds of tales. There are trees dedicated to pets and parents, trees dedicated especially for the bugs and birds, christening and wedding trees, family trees, birthday and anniversary trees and of course the ‘not your usual’ Christmas trees…the list could go on.
Having come across the Tree Dedication area herself while enjoying a walk, local resident Rita Kavanagh knew that a Tag your Tree dedication was exactly the personal and meaningful way to remember a close friend, who had recently passed away. Rita tells us, “I mentioned the idea to the remaining friends of our close group and they each wanted to do the same – so rather than just one tree, we’d have a small copse.” So keen on the result, Rita and her friends have vowed to encourage their families to consider making tree dedications so one day, many years in the future, this group of ladies, friends for many years, will have a forest-worth of trees dedicated in their names. Rita concludes, “It will be a beautiful living and growing memorial that will help nurture, support and keep safe our very precious wildlife.”
Judith, a Friend of the Forest, has tagged several trees as wedding and birthday gifts. “What do you buy a 60year old friend for their milestone birthday?” Judith asks. “Well, if you’re my friend you are likely to get a tree dedication in the Heart of England Forest.” Judith has also asked her 10year old Granddaughter, Abi, if having her own tree dedication for a birthday present would interest her. “I was delighted that she loved the idea” Judith added. “Abi saw it was a present that would last a long time and help make the world a better place – I have a sweet chestnut tagged with her name.”
Recipients of a tree dedication receive a certificate and letter detailing the gift and who it is from, as well as a map highlighting the area of the woodland where the tree is located. Community Engagement Officer, Cathy Galt, explains: ‘We have visitors who come to seek out their family tree and photograph themselves standing alongside, in different seasons, year after year. Unlike planting a tree in your garden, those dedicated in the Heart of England Forest will be accessible to them for generations.” Along with attaching a personal message, the tag your tree option also gives you details of the tree tagged and the OS map co-ordinates that can point its location with GPS.
As a recipient herself last Christmas, Valerie, who lives in Yorkshire, was absolutely thrilled with her ‘Tree-mendous Mum’ tag dedication from her son and daughter-in-law. “I had heard a lot about the Forest but when I visited to find my tag it was a joy to see that I was now actually a small part myself.”
And if you’re reading this and thinking about making a tree dedication? “Just do it!” states Judith. “The fantastic vision and impact this large-scale tree planting is already having on wildlife is amazing.” Rita adds: “Tree dedications provide a focal point that are a joy for us and our families to visit, weekly in my case.”
Why not share some of this joy with your nearest and dearest this Christmas, or make a dedication in your own name? You may find you get you a warm winter glow knowing that you are helping to create native woodland and habitats for a variety of wildlife, while the recipients will be putting on their gloves and boots, map in hand, to search out their very personal and unique gift.
Visit our dedication page to find out more about the options on offer, and make your dedication today. Orders required for Christmas must be placed by the 17th December to ensure a timely delivery.