On June 24th, Lacombe Birthplace Forest will be holding its annual ceremonial planting and celebration at 5 p.m. This year, seven trees will be planted commemorating new births within the community.
Lacombe’s Birthplace Forest program is an opportunity for families in the community to celebrate the birth of a child and commemorate that birth within the City.
The program was implemented in 2007 and each year since, a celebration and ceremonial planting have been held to recognize the trees planted commemorating new births in the community.
Each year, the City invites residents to apply to sponsor a tree in the forest.
The only requirement is that the applicant be the parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt or friend of a child born that year.
To sponsor a tree costs $75 and pays for the tree as well as adding the child’s name to the commemorative plaque at the site.
Mayor Steve Christie commented on how the program allows for those born in Lacombe to leave a lasting impression on the community.
“It gives a connection to community, it builds on community,” said Christie. “Not all of (these children) are going to stay (in Lacombe), but a part of them will always be here.”
Mary Lou Fiveland, administrative assistant for the City, agreed.
She said that the forest allows for those whose names are on the plaque to feel a connection to Lacombe wherever their lives take them.
“They can say, ‘Hey, I have a tree planted in my honour here’,” said Fiveland.
She added that the forest also adds beauty to the City.
He said the Birthplace Forest provides a way for Lacombe to replace greenery. He added this is important because Lacombe strives to be one of the most beautiful cities in the country and takes pride in its green spaces.
Having supported the program at a personal level, sponsoring four trees for his grandchildren, Christie said he thinks highly of the program.
He added he knows of other families that show strong support to the program by sponsoring a tree whenever a new child is born within the family.
The children within those families embrace the program as well, said Christie.
He added that, while trees are not designated to any of the named individuals within the Birthplace Forest specifically, his own grandchildren and others often pick a tree to be ‘their tree’ and interact with it when visiting the area.
“They get to see their tree, talk to their tree, touch their tree,” said Christie. He added this makes children aware of the importance of trees, greenery and green spaces.
Christie said the idea for the Birthplace Forest and planting trees to celebrate new life in the community was actually born out of discussions regarding quite the opposite – planting trees to commemorate the dead.
When speaking about planting memorial trees in Lacombe, the idea came about for planting trees at the beginning of residents’ lives as well.
“I think it’s a great program,” said Christie. “I love it.”
Christie also said there is possibility for expansion beyond the current Birthplace Forest as the program becomes more popular as well.
He mentioned there are many green spaces within Lacombe that could be in-filled with trees.