Better Place Forests Honors COVID-19 Frontline Heroes with $1M in Memorial Trees

Better Place Forests Honors COVID-19 Frontline Heroes with $1M in Memorial Trees

Conservation-focused end-of-life company offers protected memorial trees in private forests to provide frontline heroes the beautiful resting place they deserve for their sacrifice

SAN FRANCISCO: Today Better Place Forests, the company that built America’s first conservation memorial forests, is announcing an initiative to support the nation’s fallen frontline heroes in the COVID-19 pandemic by offering up to $1 million worth of protected memorial trees. As the U.S. recognizes National Nurses Week (May 6-12), National Police Week (May 10-16) and Emergency Medical Services Week (May 17-23), the company is giving memorial trees at no charge to frontline workers who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice in the battle against COVID-19 this year. Named “Memorial Trees for Heroes”, this commitment aims to provide healthcare providers, hospital employees, caregivers and first responders the legacy they deserve for their sacrifice and to help ease financial burden on their families.

The unprecedented pandemic has forced the families of frontline workers to make critical end-of-life planning and financial decisions during an incredibly vulnerable period. Choosing a resting place for loved ones is even more challenging in a time of unprecedented crisis. Further, a traditional burial, plot, and headstone costs around $15,000*, a heavy load on a grieving family. The “Memorial Trees for Heroes” initiative gives frontline heroes a plan for a future ceremony in a serene resting place that includes a personalized memorial service and a legacy of conservation at no cost. The company is first offering memorial trees from its protected coastal Mendocino County forest, where families of fallen frontline workers across the country may enroll to reserve a tree.

“We want to do our part to recognize these brave men and women on the frontline against COVID-19 and give them the beautiful legacy they deserve,” said Sandy Gibson, co-founder and CEO of Better Place Forests. “As someone who has found peace in my visits to my parents’ graves from a young age, I want to provide these families and friends of fallen COVID-19 heroes with a peaceful, uplifting and beautiful place to visit their loved one without having to worry about financial burden. It may not take away their loss or grief, but I want to try to bring solace in any small way I can. I want them to know that their hero’s sacrifice is recognized.”

Frontline heroes risk their lives every day as they care for victims of this disease. They’ve separated themselves from their own families; some have traveled to areas highly impacted by COVID-19; some have even come out of retirement to help. As of April 23, over 21,800 U.S. healthcare personnel have contracted COVID-19.

Better Place Forests’ conservation memorial forests are the first sustainable alternative to cemeteries for people who choose cremation – where their final resting place is a private tree in a protected forest. Ashes are mixed with soil and placed beneath the tree, continuing the life cycle of the forest. A bronze, custom memorial marker, reminiscent of those used by the US Geological Survey (USGS) to mark important locations, is placed at the base of the tree.

For each tree reserved, Better Place Forests plants 25-400 Impact Trees in areas impacted by deforestation or forest fire through its partnership with One Tree Planted.

Reservations for a “Memorial Trees for Heroes” tree will begin immediately for the company’s Point Arena forest in Mendocino County, California., a forest that boasts the best of land and sea with beautiful ocean vistas and nationally recognized, award-winning design.

The timeline for memorial services in Point Arena is subject to shelter-in-place guidelines for the State of California, Mendocino County, and Better Place Forests.