Memorial Tree Program
T.R.E.E.S. A Living Memorial (Ridgetown)
The late Doug Smith understood the problem of shrinking forestation and bird life in Chatham-Kent. In January of 1988, he thought of a possible solution and presented it to the senior citizens of Ridgetown at the Ridgetown Seniors Centre Annual Meeting.
Following much detailed planning, a committee of community volunteers was struck and the "T.R.E.E.S. A Living Memorial" forest program commenced. This community project was initially made possible by generous gifts of land from the Goodal Family and the former Municipality of Ridgetown.
The first tree planting started at the Marsh Street forest entrance in 1990 and each year since more of the area has been planted. The trees that have been planted along with those to be planted in the future are all native to this part of our country. Not long afterwards, it became evident that the initial forest would need to be expanded. With the enthusiastic support of our community service clubs and citizens' groups, funding was raised and the T.R.E.E.S. committee arranged for the purchase of approximately 35 acres of land from the Green Family. This land connects with the existing Memorial Forest. By obtaining this land, the committee has guaranteed the future of this forest, the continuance of the pathway system and the addition of some untouched wetlands. Ducks Unlimited has also participated in this project by completing construction work associated with preservation of the wetlands to further enhance the Memorial Forest.
Throughout the year, McKinlay Funeral Home donates a tree to the Memorial Forest for each family we have been privileged to serve. Trees can also be donated by anyone that would like to honour a friend or loved one who has died with a $30.00 donation to the T.R.E.E.S. A Living Memorial program. Donated trees can be arranged by contacting the McKinlay Funeral Home. An annual Dedication Service is held each September to acknowledge those for whom a tree has been planted during the past year.
Our community has truly made this dream a reality.