Earth Sanctuary, a 72-acre nature preserve on Washington’s Whidbey Island, introduces its Memorial Tree Program, offering an opportunity to purchase or gift a tree to honor a loved one, mark a milestone or to simply combat climate change. Each tree will be planted and maintained by resident naturalists, becoming a part of the preserve’s 500-year plan to create a self-sustaining, old-growth forest.

From May to July of this year, Earth Sanctuary received a 44 percent increase in visitors, welcoming those seeking respite from the global health crisis. Now visitors can return nature’s favor, and own a piece of its future, by supporting its mission. 

“Many of us have had increased feelings of chaos and confusion as the pandemic impacts the world, and while we abide by public health recommendations, this is also a time where we can do small things to make the world a better place,” said Earth Sanctuary Founder Chuck Pettis. “The Memorial Tree Program develops and maintains healthy forests that create and sustain wildlife habitats and diverse balanced ecosystems. Trees combat climate change and global warming while creating oxygen for healthier, cleaner air.”

Twenty years ago, when Earth Sanctuary founder Chuck Pettis began clearing, creating and planning the nature preserve, the goal was three-fold: achieve its 500-year plan to create a mature old-growth forest for the earth’s future; create a nature preserve with maximum wildlife diversity and population; and fight climate change by planting thousands of trees.

Throughout the old-growth forest, sacred spaces, sculptures, and wide variety of wildlife, Pettis has planted more than 15,000 native plants and 3,300 trees since 2000. His 500-year plan was developed with a variety of ecologists and experts to ensure that a healthy, self-sustaining forest will prosper. The program is detailed in the Memorial Tree portion of Earth Sanctuary’s website, suggesting support for planting longer-term trees to replace red alder, which has a short lifespan. Cedars, spruces, firs, pines, redwoods, sequoias, and other varieties will be planted.

Learn more about the Memorial Tree Program at

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