“To plant trees is to give body and life to one’s dreams of a better world” – Russell Page

Beautiful spring flowers and sunshine are tempered with sadness this month for me.  For the past two years, I have been running half marathons with Rally Northwest raising money for childhood cancer research and for a little girl from Lacey. Mia recently passed away from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Mia’s life was short, only five years, but those who had the privilege of knowing her were touched by example of how to live a full life.

Because of my love of trees, my thoughts turned to planting a tree in Mia’s honor in a park near her home. It got me thinking about memorial tree programs. When done well, they can help people heal, provide a place for quiet contemplation, and provide beauty where there is sadness. Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many memorial trees struggle or die due to improper program planning; improper tree selection, poor planting techniques and limited maintenance can lead to trees that don’t thrive, or perish.

I’ve been in contact with local city park staff to develop a site and ensure that a tree planted for Mia will thrive and provide a beautiful place that she would have loved. If you’d like to develop a memorial tree planting program in your community, please contact the DNR Urban and Community Forestry program.