Honoring America’s frontline heroes

Our Memorial Trees for Heroes program gives memorial trees and ceremonies at no cost for the hero healthcare providers, hospital employees, caregivers, and first responders who gave their lives fighting COVID-19.

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Helping you create a beautiful legacy for your hero

Frontline heroes risk their lives every day as they care for victims of this disease. Better Place Forests’ Memorial Trees for Heroes program honors the brave healthcare providers, hospital employees, caregivers and first responders who gave their lives to serve their community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’ve committed to providing up to $1 million of memorial trees and ceremonies to families and loved ones of fallen heroes to give them the legacy they deserve. Our initiative gives frontline heroes a plan for a resting place in a serene forest and includes a personalized memorial service and a legacy of conservation at no cost.

A more beautiful resting place

Continue the cycle of life as your hero’s ashes are mixed with soil and returned to the base of their tree, marked with a customized bronze memorial marker.

A personal memorial ceremony

Your forest steward will help shape an intimate memorial ceremony that reflects all of the good your hero did for the world. 

A legacy that keeps growing

Your hero’s legacy will grow with their tree: the forest is a beautiful place to remember your hero and helps protect the forest for future generations.

What is included in the Memorial Trees for Heroes program?

Our Memorial Trees for Heroes gives frontline heroes a serene resting place, an in-person memorial ceremony, and a lasting legacy of conservation. We are launching this program with memorial trees in our protected coastal California forest. 

Who is Better Place Forests?

Better Place Forests created America’s first conservation memorial forests –– a beautiful, sustainable alternative to cemeteries for people who choose cremation. We aim to provide an end-of-life experience that is uplifting, beautiful, and personal by enabling you to return ashes to the earth, underneath a protected memorial tree.

We collaborate with local communities to conserve and maintain the health of our forests. And through our Impact Tree program with 
One Tree Planted, we plant additional trees to help with critical reforestation efforts. Every person who chooses a tree in one of our forests helps to conserve and preserve forestland for generations to come.

Click here
 to learn more about how we protect forests.

Who is eligible for the Memorial Trees for Heroes program?

© 2020 Better Place Forests

Our serene coastal California forest features stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

Point Arena, California

Where are the memorial trees located?

We’ll begin by offering trees to frontline heroes in our coastal California forest in Mendocino county. 

We seek to expand the Memorial Trees for Heroes program to additional areas across the country impacted by COVID-19, including the New York metro area. We're working closely with local communities to bring this offering to these areas of need.

Expanding to areas heavily impacted by the pandemic

FAQs

Can I apply if I don’t live in California?

Yes the Memorial Trees for Heroes program is for healthcare providers, hospital employees, caregivers, and first response professionals across America who have passed away due to COVID-19.

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. As soon as we are able, we will open the forest to visitors and begin scheduling Memorial Ceremonies. We are happy to begin the planning process with you in advance of opening the forest.

When will a ceremony take place?

Better Place Forests purchases beautiful forest land and conserves it for future generations. We offer private memorial trees in a protected memorial conservation forest. Ashes are mixed with soil and returned to the base of the tree during a personalized memorial ceremony. A customized bronze memorial marker is placed at the tree marking the location. 

How does Better Place Forests work?

We would be happy to put you in touch with an advisor who can tell you more about purchasing a memorial tree.

What if I don’t qualify but am interested in a memorial tree with Better Place Forests?

We are reviewing applications as quickly as possible and will aim to reach out to you within 48 hours of your submission. For those who qualify, we’ll answer any questions you have and discuss the details of selecting a memorial tree for your hero.

When and how will I be contacted?

We will need a death certificate and verification of your hero’s occupation and place of employment. The customer care team will review documentation requirements with you in detail on their call.

What documentation do you require?

“In a time when conservation is becoming increasingly urgent, it’s rather poetic to protect a tree with your remains, secure in the knowledge that more are being planted in your honor.”

As opposed to going to a cemetery and going back each year to grieve the loss of a loved one...going to a forest and being in that peaceful place, I think that’s a great idea.”

“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. “I want to provide these families and friends of fallen heroes with a peaceful and uplifting place to visit their loved one without having to worry about financial burden.”

Sandy Gibson, co-founder and CEO

If you have land you would like to dedicate to the program, we’d love to be in touch. Fill out this form and a member of our real estate team will reach out.

Do you own forestland you’d like to dedicate to frontline heroes?

A setting like this makes room for people to bring whatever meaning they want... whatever is special or sacred to them

A meaningful resting place

Hear from our customers Claudia and Imani who explain how finding a memorial tree for their beloved husband and father brought peace to the whole family.

*According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a funeral with viewing, vault and burial in 2017 was $8,755 per person.

Hear what others are saying

If you are part of our Memorial Trees for Heroes program, we currently only have trees in our Point Arena forest. If you would like a memorial tree in one of our other forest locations outside of the program, our advisors would be happy to discuss all of our forest locations so you can find the one that’s right for you. You can book time to talk to an advisor here.

What if I am interested in a location other than Point Arena?

Honoring a life of service

We hope to give frontline heroes a legacy reflective of the brave sacrifice they’ve made and to help provide some solace for grieving families. Funeral and memorial planning can be an incredibly stressful and expensive endeavor. A traditional burial, plot, and headstone costs around $15,000*, and we aim to ease the burden of planning a memorial.

It’s our small way of saying thank you for your hero’s incredible service to our country.

For those who don’t qualify for the Memorial Trees for Heroes program but love the idea of ashes spread beneath a redwood tree in coastal California, learn more here.

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Honoring America’s frontline heroes with a legacy of conservation

© 2020 Better Place Forests

*According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a funeral with viewing, vault and burial in 2019 was $9,135 per person. A headstone and plot can range from $1,700-$10,000, depending on location, according to Choice Mutual.

Only interested if we expand our program to new locations? Please apply here.

Not eligible for the program, but love the idea of a peaceful forest as your resting place? Learn more here.

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Any frontline healthcare provider, hospital employee, caregiver, or first responder in the United States who gave their lives fighting COVID-19. This includes doctors, nurses, police, firefighters, EMTs, and anyone employed in a medical, hospice or nursing home facility. 

Eligibility for our coastal California forest

Those of us in the medical community are honored and driven to take care of patients and their families during this pandemic - but it doesn’t come without stress and risk. Although this has been an incredibly trying experience for all of us, the daily 7pm cheers of thanks and comradery have been a special moment of joy. When it is all over and the cheering has come to a close, Better Place Forests' Memorial Trees for Heroes will forever be a poignant recognition of the lives of those who sacrificed everything for the patients they served. I know I am not alone in my appreciation for a Better Place Forests’ generous gift.”

Dr. David Gutteridge, an attending ER physician on the frontlines in Brooklyn

It has been inspiring to see the community surround us with so much support during such a trying time. It has inarguably been very hard for our team here at Elmhurst as we've watched this pandemic progress rapidly, but our patients motivate us to continue helping during those 12-plus hour days. Our jobs inherently come with risk. So when we learned of this generous offer from Better Place Forests, it reassured us that our families and loved ones are being thought of and taken care of in this way. I support their thoughtful offer, and we are thankful that Memorial Trees for Heroes will serve as a reminder of the meaningful work we do every day to help our patients.”

Dr. Rachel Shively, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Elmhurst Hospital Center

Better Place Forests wants to do its part for heroes’ grieving families, who must make critical and costly end-of-life decisions during an incredibly vulnerable period…We urge you to join us in supporting Better Place Forests to help honor those on the front lines during this time to have a beautiful final resting place where loved ones can gather, and a person’s memory can be honored and ensure their value lives on.”

New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus