A bouquet of flowers lasts for a week, tops. So, a suggestion: for the next big life event you want to celebrate or family member you’d like to commemorate, consider a living memorial that everyone can use and appreciate. Here’s how.
Tucked along the trail on the northeast edge of White Rock Lake Park sits the Celebration Tree Grove. Simple stone monuments inset with bronze plaques are arranged around a manicured gravel courtyard, and the surrounding stand of bald cypress, mossycup oak, basket elm, chinquapin oak, and lacebark elm offers a shady respite from the bustle of the bike path. Donations of any size are accepted to aid the ongoing reforestation of the White Rock Lake area, but you’ll get a customized bronze plaque on one of the monuments for donations of $1,000 or more. 214-660-1100.
Instead of sending flowers, go big and dedicate an entire blooming bed of color. Sponsor a planted 10-foot bed for a year ($625 for nonmembers; $525 for members) or a blooming bed of bulbs in the spring ($325 for nonmembers; $275 for members), and the Dallas Arboretum will note your donation with a 3-by-5-inch dedication card. The Tree Honorarium Program allows you to tour the grounds with staff to select the perfect tree, which will be marked with a black metal plate ($3,000 to $25,000). To top off your gift, opt to name a day ($400 to $1,000). Your honoree will be recognized with framed signs located at the entrance, and you’ll receive complimentary tickets so you can share the celebration. 214-515-6615.
This 7.5-acre organic botanic garden at Fair Park boasts two butterfly habitats, wildlife pond, scent garden, rose garden—even a Grand Allee with a dramatic fountain at the end, perfect for weddings (or proposals). Donations of trees ($1,500) and teak benches ($1,200), as part of the Garden Beautification Fund, include a personalized plaque that will be displayed for 10 years, with an opportunity for renewal. Or adopt a 5-by-5-foot seasonal garden bed with a personalized garden sign for two months ($250) or one year ($750). 214-428-7476.
The Texas Trees Foundation, which grows its own native trees at the TXU Urban Tree Farm at Richland College, supports tree planting initiatives in public spaces throughout North Central Texas. You can volunteer the third Saturday of every month (except June, July, August, and December) at the tree farm or participate in local plantings throughout the year. For a $100 donation to its memorial tree program, you will receive a certificate that can be sent to the honoree as well as a tree charm. Or donate to one of their many programs, such as the Plano Quincentennial Bur Oak Grove project, which will be planting trees in Bob Woodruff Park to ensure there is a canopy in the park for future generations. Sponsorship amounts vary. 214-953-1184.
The City of Dallas Park & Recreation Department Amenity Donation Program offers a variety of donation opportunities, from drinking fountains, picnic tables, bike racks, and grills to less glamorous—but more essential—items like trash receptacles and pet waste stations. After completing the donation application and designating a desired park (areas of particular need include South and West Dallas), a community program coordinator will schedule a meeting to price and plan the amenity donation. If you want to provide a plaque, contact the city for details; there may be an option for donations greater than $1,000, but everything is subject to approval. Prices for amenity items and installation range from $195 to $3,500. 214-670-1923.
The Antoine Predock-designed Trinity River Audubon Center is located 10 miles south of downtown in the Great Trinity Forest, along the Central Flyway, the bird migration route that spans the Great Plains. This means that hundreds of bird species pass over the center’s 5 miles of nature trails every year. For $500, donate a memorial bench where visitors can stop and scan the skies, or have a plaque placed on a boardwalk or bird platform for a contribution of $1,000. Small pocket gardens are also an option, and are handled on a case-by-case basis. 214-309-5801.