Annual Dedication Services will be held throughout September at three of the seven Memorial Forests located in the lower Thames watershed. Thousands of trees have been planted in memory of loved ones since the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Foundation initiated the program over 19 years ago in partnership with local funeral homes, horticultural societies and the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority. As noted by one funeral director, ‘Planting a tree is emotional support which helps each individual through their grief journey. Conservation is an essential ingredient for a good environment and quality of life’. Local clergy will conduct a ‘remembrance’, ‘benediction’ and ‘blessing’ at each service. Ceremonial trees will be planted, followed by light refreshments. Everyone is welcomed to attend. Dress comfortably for the outdoors and bring a lawn chair for a 45 minute open-air program.
Sunday, September 11 at 2 p.m. at C.M. Wilson Conservation Area. A dedication service will be held at the McKinlay Woodlands… A Living Memorial – a special forest growing at this location in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, just south of Chatham. McKinlay Funeral Homes Ltd. in Chatham was the first to establish a partnership with the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Foundation and the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority. Their funeral home in Blenheim also supports this memorial forest. In addition, the McKinlays have taken on a memorial forest in Merlin where a spring service is held in June.
Sunday; September 18th at 2 p.m. at the Mosa Forest (Skunk’s Misery) near Bothwell. A dedication service will be held in partnership with the John C. Badder Funeral Homes of Thamesville, Dresden and Bothwell.
Sunday, September 25th at 2 p.m. at the Tilbury Northside Park Memorial Forest in Tilbury. The Tilbury and District Horticultural Society will be hosting this service.
The ‘Memorial Forest Program’ is an important objective of the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Foundation and helps to green the watershed. Throughout the lower Thames River watershed, funeral homes have partnered with the Foundation and donate a tree in memory of loved ones. Family and friends of loved ones can also have a tree planted at memorial forest sites for a donation of $40 per tree (tax receipt available from the Foundation). The individual trees are not marked, however, records are kept, certificates are mailed to the next of kin and an annual dedication service is held at four memorial forest sites. Donor cards for memorial trees can be downloaded from the Foundation’s website at www.lowerthamesfoundation.ca under memorial forests or email Yournature@lowerthamesfoundation.ca.
The locations of the memorial forests are:
- Big Bend Memorial Forest at Big Bend Conservation Area in the Municipality of Southwest Middlesex, near Wardsville.
- Badder Memorial Forest at the Mosa Forest in the Municipality of Southwest Middlesex, near Bothwell.
- Sharon Creek Memorial Forest at Sharon Creek Conservation Area in the Township of Middlesex Centre, near Delaware.
- Rowsom’s Tilbury West Memorial Forest at Rowsom’s Tilbury West Conservation Area in the Town of Lakeshore, near Tilbury.
- McKinlay Woodlands at the C.M. Wilson Conservation Area in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, near Chatham.
- McKinlay Woodlands at the Merlin Conservation Area in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, in Merlin.
- Tilbury Northside Memorial Forest in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent at the Tilbury Northside Park in Tilbury.
‘One generation plants a tree, so that the next can enjoy the shade. A tree planting program like this is important to the community and reminds them that harmony with the land is like harmony with a friend. Planting trees is a permanent way to recognize a loved one and at the same time give back to the earth. A living tree is symbo