There are many ways to make your local community a welcoming and inviting place for residents and visitors. Many cities and colleges offer bench and tree programs that enable citizens to donate funds for a commemorative park bench or tree in honor of a loved one. People can donate the cost of a tree, bench and memorial plaque to be established somewhere in the community, improving the city’s beauty.
These tree and bench programs provide beautiful reminders of loved ones and encourage community involvement in projects that increase the aesthetic appeal of your town. Planting trees and creating comfortable seating areas around your community are excellent ways to beautify your city or campus and create enjoyable spaces that can last for generations.
Environmental Benefits of These Programs
Planting trees as part of your city or campus initiative to improve its aesthetic can bring significant environmental benefits to your community. Here are a few ways planting memorial trees in a park benefits the environment:
1. Improving Air Quality
Trees can significantly improve your town’s air quality, which boosts residents’ health outcomes. Research has shown that trees remove pollutants from the air and intercept particulates. Trees also fight climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide and converting it into oxygen using photosynthesis. As trees absorb pollutants and release oxygen into the air, they effectively “recycle” the air and make it more healthful for humans and animals.
2. Protecting Soil and Conserving Water
Tree root systems are vital for preventing soil erosion and maintaining ground stability. Trees also intercept water runoff. Cities often experience more stormwater runoff than rural areas because of the increased paved surfaces and buildings. Trees help the soil absorb more water and improve filtration.
3. Benefitting Local Wildlife
Urbanization often results in the loss of some forms of wildlife. Trees reduce this effect by providing a habitat for all kinds of urban wildlife, including squirrels, birds and insects. These creatures play a vital role in your community’s ecosystem. Providing animals with shelter and food from trees helps them to maintain their home in your city.
4. Creating Environmentally-Friendly Memorials
Planting a tree is one of the most environmentally-friendly ways to honor and remember a person or event. New trees benefit the environment by improving air quality and protecting the soil, while benches and plaques can also be surprisingly environmentally-friendly. For example, memorial park benches made from recycled plastic lumber are sturdier and more environmentally friendly than wood.
Financial Benefits to Cities That Implement These Programs
Besides improving the environment in your area, creating a tree and bench program provides your city with several financial benefits:
1. Increasing Tourism
Having plenty of seating options and shady areas is essential for making your town or community visitor-friendly, especially during the summer. When people visit, having beautiful and convenient outdoor places to explore and rest — in parks, playgrounds and areas with high foot traffic — makes your town more inviting.
2. Increasing Population
Beautifying your city can make it more attractive to people who might be considering moving to the area. Young families and retired people alike might enjoy having plenty of playgrounds, walking trails and parks with shade trees and memorial park benches. Increasing the aesthetic appeal of several locations in your city might positively impact some peoples’ decision to move there.
3. Using Taxpayer Funding for Other Initiatives
With a tree and bench program, donor funding can replace some of the taxpayer funding that typically goes toward beautification and grounds maintenance. Instead, some funds can go toward other projects to help further improve your town or city.
How Cities, Parks and Colleges Can Start a Bench and Tree Program
Some planning can help ensure your city’s bench and tree program is successful. Here are a few steps to get you started:
1. Plan Tree and Bench Placement
The first step in creating a memorial bench and tree program in your city is deciding the best locations for the memorial benches and trees. A primary consideration is the closeness to pedestrian traffic, so your community will get the most use out of the benches and trees.
Residents can request to plant memorial trees in a park or along sidewalks. Ideal sites for a bench installation include a city park, downtown, outdoor shopping areas or other places where people congregate. Your city or campus may also have a playground or walking trail that would make an excellent location for a tree or bench.
The options are nearly limitless. Evaluate your town’s layout and where residents and visitors might enjoy the benches and trees the most.
2. Determine the Program’s Guidelines
Creating guidelines for your bench and tree program is essential for ensuring the program is sustainable and meets residents’ needs. Here are a few factors to consider when crafting your program:
- The program’s offerings: A critical aspect of your memorial tree and bench program is the types of trees and memorial park benches you’ll offer donors, which could depend on your area’s weather patterns and soil conditions. Select hearty tree species like red maple, crabapple and pin oak that produce beautiful blooms or foliage. Decide whether you’ll offer etched stainless steel, cast bronze or aluminum plaques and what size, style and color people can choose.
- Maintenance: Develop a maintenance routine for memorial trees and benches that your city’s personnel can incorporate into their existing grounds maintenance program. Trees need watering and fertilizing, park benches may need periodic washing and cleaning bronze plaques may require routine touch-ups to prevent oxidation. Another aspect to consider is when to replace a bench, plaque or tree.
- Warranties: Warranties are an essential aspect of any memorial because they must last for years. If a tree develops a disease or a plaque is damaged, being able to replace it is crucial. Discuss options with the local nursery and bench and plaque suppliers to determine what warranties they offer.
- Plaques: A plaque is an essential feature of a memorial that tells passersby about the loved one it honors. Research memorial bench and garden plaque options and decide on the materials, sizes and customization options you want to offer. You may choose to include plaques with a tree or bench donation or require donors to purchase them separately.
- The extent of donor input: Providing donors with a few options about what type of tree to donate or where to place their donation makes the program more appealing. For example, if a loved one enjoyed a particular path at the park, that location could be ideal for a memorial bench in their honor. Offering a first-come, first-serve list of locations might be ideal.
3. Spread the Word
Once you create your tree and bench program, it’s time to launch it and tell residents. Generating interest in the program is essential for its success. Use your city’s website and social media platforms to get residents interested in the new offering.
Residents also need a convenient way to contact you when placing their orders. You may choose to have potential donors contact the city’s parks and recreation department by phone or email or provide an order form they can submit online.
Soon, people will reach out to honor their loved ones by beautifying their community.
Choose Erie Landmark Company for Your Memorial Plaques
Tree and bench programs can be an excellent way to beautify and enrich your community while drawing people to your city. Adding memorial plaques to park benches or the bases of trees allows donors to memorialize a loved one or special event and create a peaceful space to remember them.
If your city or college needs high-quality, custom plaques, choose memorial bench and garden plaques from Erie Landmark Company. We’ve been designing and creating custom plaques in our family-owned foundry since 1937 and are dedicated to working with you to craft the plaques you envision.
To learn more about plaques from Erie Landmark Company, fill out our form today.