Back
40 years in the Berkshires: Dwight’s legacy of forest conservation

Dwight and his wife Renate owned the property now known as Better Place Forests Berkshires for over 40 years — raising their children in the same area where Dwight himself grew up. After selling their land to Better Place Forests, Dwight and his family found peace in the knowledge that their property will be carefully conserved and enjoyed for generations to come. 

Learn more about Dwight, his connection to the land, and why he’s grateful to know Better Place Forests will continue to preserve it. 

Prioritizing the conservation of the Berkshires forest 

For many of us, the forest is more than fresh air and sunlight — it’s where we go to connect to ourselves and a higher power. Dwight has always felt this way when he steps into the Berkshires forest. 

“I feel a spiritual connection to the forest,” said Dwight. “It’s a special feeling to be able to say that our remains will be spread at the tree that I used to gather sap from during maple sugar season. It's a beautiful tree. It’s a comforting feeling to know that I’ll be there, not in a cemetery. It’s a sad feeling to visit a cemetery — the forest is much more enjoyable.”

We’re proud to conserve forestland that would otherwise be developed, preserving it for people to enjoy for generations. To best care for each forest, we hire local arborists and forest experts to steward and protect the land for our families. We also plant trees in partnership with One Tree Planted in areas that have felt the impacts of deforestation or forest fires, helping the local ecosystem thrive. 

Dwight found comfort knowing that by choosing Better Place Forests to steward his former property, he’s leaving an environmental legacy that honors his family’s history with the land. 

“Having owned the property for 40 years, we are connected to that property in a way that it's part of our family, and we cherish that,” said Dwight. “Of course, at some point, we'll be back at the tree that we used to make maple syrup. We’re grateful for the way things are happening — Better Place Forests handling the forest conservation of the Berkshires has been an unexpected pleasure.”

Dwight and Renate on the Berkshires property in 1993

Better Place Forests Berkshires: A special place

When you ask Dwight about the Berkshires property, his eyes light up and he describes the delights of the forest in vivid detail. The way he talks about the wildlife and trees makes his passion and deep affection for the area perfectly clear, and it’s obvious that the idea that it will be preserved for other people to enjoy the way he did brings him great joy and peace. 

“The property that we passed on to Better Place Forests is a magnificent place to visit and connect to nature,” explained Dwight. “My favorite time is mid-October when the foliage is at its peak. The sunrise hitting the colorful maple sugar leaves is stunning, and there are many brilliant colors that are visible throughout the day.”

When asked what he finds most special about the Berkshires forest, Dwight replied that it’s impossible to pick just one thing. 

“There are many special things, like the variety of trees including white pine, sugar maple, red oak, and white birch,” Dwight said. “Some of the limbs on sugar maples make you wonder how a tree could grow in so many different directions! The wildlife and the birds love that forest because it offers so much.”

Dwight told us that when you walk into the forest, you’re welcomed by an assortment of fragrances. 

“The forest has special smells. In the summer, the sun warms the pine oil, making the pine trees very fragrant. When the leaves start to fall, there’s a change in the scent that they give off. It's a soothing smell. If there’s a little spring, the moss that grows there has an earthy smell. It’s enjoyable on a nice day to sit on a rock or fallen tree and enjoy the sun and the odors that nature offers. It's fantastic.”

Dwight has extensive knowledge of the forest’s inhabitants and could mark the changing seasons by the migration of birds or the activity of the animals.

“There are many different types of birds, all making their own sound. The wood thrushes sing a melodious tune, while the blue jays sound like scolding, raucous characters. The robins, Canadian geese, and hawks are also there, and watching them fly north and south signifies the coming of winter or spring. You also may see deer, red foxes, coyotes, or the occasional moose. The native black bears like the wild blueberries that grow in the field and always seem to get there before we can get their blueberries!”

Dwight and Renate at their chosen memorial tree

Spending eternity surrounded by special memories & family

Dwight and his family will eventually return to their forest to have their ashes spread at their memorial trees.

“We've picked our tree, and our daughters picked their trees as well,” he said. “It was important to us that they pick a tree that they liked. We wanted the trees to be near each other and chosen by the girls and the grandchildren for themselves. It means a lot to us that they enjoyed growing up in the forest and want to return to it after they’re gone.“

When you’re ready to find your memorial tree, book a free online forest tour with one of our advisors.

Stay in touch
Get our latest articles on better end-of-life planning sent directly to your inbox.