THE impact of the Covid pandemic is to be marked by the planting of 400 trees in Dumfries and Galloway.

They will act as a memorial to those who died as a result of the disease in the region.

The Dispersed Memorial Forest is part of the Scotland-wide memorial project funded by the Scottish Government.

Artists and creative organisations have been commissioned in each of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas, and the memorials created in each area will be locally co-designed and unique to each area.

For the Memorial Forest, artists Katie Anderson and t s Beall will be working with communities across Dumfries and Galloway to collaboratively design and plant trees in five sites at Castle Douglas, Dumfries, Moffat, Sanquhar and Stranraer.

The forest comprises the central part of the Covid Memorial for Dumfries and Galloway, which will also include community events in all five locations and a permanent archive sharing stories from the community.

The artists said they wanted to plant one tree for each person lost to Covid in the region, with additional trees to represent other types of loss and resilience and to highlight the different ways communities “grew together” during the pandemic.

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Between July and December 2022, the artists spoke to more than 800 residents across Dumfries and Galloway to identify key ideas and themes for the memorial.

One of the most prominent ideas which emerged from the discussions was the importance of spending time outdoors during the pandemic lockdowns.

“A focus on connecting with nature and a renewed appreciation for our local green spaces emerged as a strong theme in all the community discussions,” the artists said.

Dumfries and Galloway councillor Jackie McCamon added: “Covid-19 had a huge impact on the lives of people across our region and this project is an important opportunity to create something positive to pass on to future generations.”

Remembering Together Dumfries and Galloway is commissioned by Greenspace Scotland, DG Unlimited, and Dumfries and Galloway Council with funding from the Scottish Government.

“This is an important project for this region and for Scotland, and we are all thrilled to see the plans coming to fruition and the tree-planting commencing,” said Lucy Bell, of DG Unlimited.

Members of the public are invited to volunteer and become involved in co-designing specific aspects of the Community Covid Memorial for Dumfries and Galloway.

Over the coming months, there will be opportunities to plant trees, attend creative workshops and contribute to community events which will launch the Dispersed Memorial Forest sites. The project will be completed in June 2024.