2020 Memorial Trees: See How You Made a Positive Difference
Posted by: Erin Ward in Grief and Guidance, Memorialization | February 4

Memorial trees are a truly unique and meaningful way to honor a loved one. During 2020, we honored hundreds of lives while making a positive impact on the environment. We planted more than 140,000 trees this year, which wouldn’t have been possible without you. 


To show you the lasting impact your loved ones’ memorial trees are having on the environment, we want to go over the restoration projects they supported. In 2020, the memorial trees went to projects in both California and Michigan. 


But before we get into the restoration project details, we want to share a little information about our forestry partner American Forests and the benefits of forests for our environment. 

 

The Benefits of Forests for the Environment 


American Forests’ mission is to conserve and restore forests across North America. During just the last 30 years, they’ve planted 60 million trees. 


Forests have many benefits for the environment and wildlife that you may not have considered, such as: 


  • Helping combat climate change 
  • Suppressing wildfires 
  • Giving us clean and steady water  
  • Saving wildlife, their habitats, and the beauty of nature 
  • Providing almost 3 million jobs 
  • And so much more! 

 

Memorial Trees Planted in California 


Since 1991, American Forests has planted 8.4 million trees in California. During 2020, the memorial trees that were planted in California were a part of the Eldorado National Forest, San Bernardino Mountains, and Camp Fire Restoration Projects. Due to climate change, wildfires, and various other reasons, the forests are drying out and changing faster than ever. Since 2010, more than 162 million trees have died across 10.5 million acres in California. 


But thanks to your loved ones’ memorial trees, California’s forests are getting better. Through these projects, American Forests and local organizations are planting a diverse mix of native trees to mimic natural forests. They’re also working to save current trees in the area, with some being 5,000 years old. 


Below are a few of the many reasons why it’s important to save California’s forests: 


  • The forests can help slow climate change, since they store a lot of carbon. 
  • They provide more than 60% of the state’s water supply. 
  • Outdoor activities like Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe support about 700,000 jobs. 
  • They also support about 70,000 jobs in wood and paper products, forest conversation, and several other careers. 
  • They are home to elk, mountain lions, the rare Pacific fisher, and other wildlife. 

 

Memorial Trees Planted in Michigan 


Since 1990, American Forests and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources helped plant 6.8 million jack pine trees in the Crawford County, Michigan area. In 2020, they planted 1.8 million jack pine seedlings as part of the Kirtland’s Warbler Recovery Project. 


The goal of this project is to restore the habitat for the Kirtland’s warbler, a rare bird. Due to wildfires, many of the jack pines have been destroyed. With the help of memorial trees, they’re working to save this bird. Recently, the bird was removed from the Endangered Species Act after being on the list since 1967. They’re also the first songbird to ever be removed from the list, so this is a huge accomplishment.


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