Woodland memorial service plants roots

Nidderdale has been chosen for a new woodland memorial venture for people to offset their carbon footprint.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 2:02 pm

Make it Wild, owned by Helen and Christopher Neave, has added a site in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to its six woodland nature reserves, to enable people to plant and nourish a tree using the cremation ashes of a loved one.

Helen Neave, who co-developed the Memorial Trees service, said: “We have worked with bereaved people for several years assisting in the planting of remembrance trees, without ashes, for a loved one.

“This is something we have been asked for on many occasions, yet most people are unaware of the fact that untreated ashes within the roots can actually damage a tree.”

The process begins with the neutralisation of the cremated remains, where specialists carefully work with the ashes to eliminate toxic elements though natural processes, ensuring they’re suitable to enrich the earth in which the tree is planted.

Following this, the neutralised ashes are carefully blended with compost, and the family’s chosen species of young, native tree, around seven-to-eight feet tall, is then ready to be planted in the growing medium.

Family or friends can come together on their chosen date to water and plant their tree in the company’s memorial woodland in Nidderdale’s Area of Outstanding Beauty.

The trees are specially selected to attract local insects and birds, providing a perfect habitat for wildlife to thrive while the deceased person’s remains enhances its growth.

Make It Wild’s Memorial Trees service is available to families throughout the UK, where loved ones are supported throughout the process - from collection of ashes to the actual planting of the tree - in a way that’s bespoke to their personal preferences and timings.

The trees, all of which will form part of an ancient woodland of the future, on protected land, also feature wooden memorial plaques that are placed adjacent to the tree.

Co-founder Christopher Neave, who works with bereaved relatives alongside Helen and the team, added: “The utmost respect and care is taken with this process, using natural methods and ingredients.

“It is an absolute honour to be involved with the creation of the ultimate tribute to nature-lovers.”

Make it Wild, which was founded in 2017 and has planted 50,000 trees to help companies and individuals offset their carbon footprints, launched its Memorial Trees service earlier this year.