Better Place Forests Wants You to Choose a Memorial Tree Instead of a Tombstone

You'll really become one with nature.

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Preserving and protecting our forests and environment are some of the biggest issues we face today, and activists are doing everything in their power to make the world a better place for tomorrow—even from the afterlife. But how? You can actually choose to have a tree instead of a tombstone, all thanks to Better Place Forests. The company wants to replace cemeteries with lush forests, starting by actually protecting some that are in danger right now.

Here's how it works: Basically, instead of purchasing a tombstone in a cemetery, Better Place Forests is providing a natural alternative. You'll spread your loved one's ashes beneath a tree (of their choosing) and it will become a permanently protected memorial tree.

The first step is to choose the actual forest area. Right now, only two forests available are in Santa Cruz and Point Arena, California, but the company is working on expanding these locations. Next, you choose your tree—from redwoods to Douglas firs to tanoaks and madrones, you'll be able to choose the one that speaks to you most.

Founder Sandy Gibson started Better Place Forests wanting to "create somewhere that could be as beautiful as the memories of the people that you love," all while making the world a more sustainable place. In a promotional video on their website, Sandy mentions that there are over one million acres of cemeteries in America—land that could be used for protecting the Earth instead of laying tombstones.

Pricing for a private tree starts at just $3,800, but it's not just for one person—your entire family can use a single tree to lay ashes of each person who wants their final resting place to be in a forest. With the private tree comes a bronze memorial marker emblazoned with your family's name.

"The process of selecting a tree was deeply spiritual as well as fun," one online reviewer said. "I am a tree-hugging conservationist and Better Place Forests is exactly what I had in mind whenever I contemplated the disposition of my ashes."

Your Better Place Forests package will include a private tree in a permanently protected forest, a visitors center, a memorial marker, and also the promise to plant 25-400 new trees in California based on the tree you select for your memorial.

Feeling a little iffy? The Better Place Forests team will give you a personal tour of the forest of your choice, with no obligation to purchase or commit—all you have to do is feel it out to see if it's the right decision for you.

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