A key goal of the Herland Forest is to help people spend time near their loved one; to craft a private place where they can come to enjoy the beauty of nature in a living memorial to love and devotion; to tend to the flowers and trees that show that, while someone may have passed over, they are not forgotten.
From May through October, the forest is a wonderful place for people to gather and have a picnic under the trees. To help that happen, Herland Forest has picnic tables made from trees gleaned from our forest.
Herland Forest is a living forest, which means that some trees die every year. Sometimes a tree succumbs to beetle damage during the dry season, other times from damage from a winter ice storm, and other times from high winds in spring when the ground becomes saturated and loses its ability to hold the roots in place.
One of our tasks as steward of the Herland Forest cemetery is to play the role of undertaker for those trees, and to convert the fallen tree into the various wood products that help to sustain our community. The name of our forest comes from the vision laid out in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s 1915 work Herland. Gilman’s vision was a forest that is cultivated to produce the food, fuel, and fiber that a community needs to sustain itself without having to rely on fossil-fuel based agriculture.
A fallen tree will serve a variety of uses, fulfill a variety of needs. The bark will provide mulch, the body will provide lumber , sawdust and kindling, and the branches will provide firewood.
We process the trunk on our sawmill, producing large slabs of wood that are excellent for making picnic tables. Come the spring, we bring the picnic tables out of storage, and locate them near the where graves are so that people can gather with friends and family to share a meal and a memory.