Ohio Governor Mike DeWine dedicated a new memorial tree grove on Arbor Day, Friday, near Chillicothe. It is in honor of the victims and survivors of COVID-19, as well as all Ohioans who made personal sacrifices to protect others amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ohio Department of Health reports the COVID-19 Pandemic Memorial Grove at Great Seal State Park includes 15 trees native to Ohio surrounding a paved trail.
Benches will be added to allow visitors to reflect on the toll of the pandemic, honor lives lost, pay tribute to courageous frontline workers, and recognize the selfless actions of Ohioans to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Governor DeWine selected the Great Seal State Park for the COVID-19 Pandemic Memorial Grove becasue of its rich history and central location. Its hills are depicted in Ohio's state seal.
In Friday's ceremony, Governor DeWine, First Lady Fran DeWine, and Director Mertz planted the first tree in the new grove.
The remaining trees were planted by COVID-19 survivors, families of Ohioans killed by the virus, healthcare workers, first responders, teachers, students, local community leaders, and other essential workers including representatives from the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio National Guard, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, and Ohio Emergency Management Agency.
The trees selected for the COVID-19 Pandemic Memorial Grove are all native to Ohio, including five white oaks, three redbuds, and one tree each of swamp white oak, northern red oak, chinquapin oak, hackberry, sugar maple, red maple, and flowering dogwood.
Ohio's Great Seal State Park is located at 4908 Marietta Road in Chillicothe. The COVID-19 Pandemic Memorial Grove is located adjacent to the park's campground. There are no admission or parking fees.
A recording of the ceremony can be found at ohiochannel.org.