July 2019

You’re outside on a pleasant spring day. There’s a gentle, warm breeze. You hear birds singing a sweet and soothing song.

What would happen if you suddenly understood the birdsong?

What if you recognized your child’s name in the birdsong?

Would you feel joy hearing the name of your young child who passed away being sung among the birds?

What if other birds learned to mimic unique birdsongs, repeating the names of children gone too soon? What if these names were sung among birds in the skies?

This is the plan of the Birdsong Children’s Memorial Garden project.

We’re excited to announce that in July 2019, our Board of Directors decided to create the Birdsong Children’s Memorial Garden for grieving families in our community. We will create a space where grieving families, regardless of the cause of their grief, may go to feel uplifted and cheered.

We’re not sure where the garden will be yet, but it’s features will have:

1) A duplicate of Ty Hafen’s birdsong project. Ty Hafen is a children’s hospice charity in the U.K. that successfully launched the birdsong project in their children’s memorial garden. We plan to do the same thing under the expertise and guidance of Justin Wiggan. Justin is the amazing sound artist expert, and it’s his copyrighted concept that created the birdsong feature for Ty Hafen. We’re excited that Justin has agreed to help WVCC bring the same feature to our memorial garden! This feature of the Birdsong project will translate each child’s name (who WVCC served since 2014) into Morse Code, then into the song of the native bird that sings loudest in the month the child passed. Each child’s name will be followed by a silence of one second for each year of the child’s life. The birdsong audio will be updated annually to include new children’s names whose families are served by WVCC. As with Ty Hafen, the hope is that as the birdsong audio plays, that local birds will learn to mimic the songs and sing them to other birds, so that the childrens’ names pass from bird to bird and are sung throughout the skies. Each WVCC family will receive a copy of their child’s birdsong so they will recognize it when they visit the garden.

2. A wooden hopscotch display on which WVCC families may place a pair of their child’s shoes in the year of the child’s loss.

3. Shaded sitting area with flowering trees and shrubs and cheery landscaping. Our vision is to create a somewhat private area with a gazebo/pergola within a Salem public park. The cheerful birdsong audio combined with bright flowers and native flowering trees and shrubs will create a calming, soothing area for hurting hearts to rest.

As a deep-felt thank you to the team who ultimately helps creates Birdsong with us, we’ll engrave their names on a metal sign displayed within the garden, for all to see and appreciate for years to come.

Watch our Facebook page to participate in fundrasing efforts!