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COVID-19 Pandemic Memorial Grove

Artist rendering of the grove

"While no memorial can encompass the pain felt by Ohioans, by Americans, and by the world, we hope this grove will offer solace to those who lost loved ones,” Governor Mike DeWine said. “May this memorial grove be a place of peace and remembrance for Ohioans of this tragic time in our collective history.”

Loss, Sacrifice, and Bravery

Governor Mike DeWine dedicated the COVID-19 Pandemic Memorial Grove in April 2021 to honor the lives that were lost, the sacrifices made, and the bravery of so many Ohioans who cared for others during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The memorial grove will be a place of peace, solace, and remembrance for Ohioans of this time in our collective history.

Governor DeWine chose Great Seal State Park for the Memorial Grove because of its rich history and central location in Chillicothe. The park is easily accessible from major highways for people from around the state. Great Seal is also rich in state history. Though it was only dedicated as a state park in 1974, its landscapes inspired the design of the state seal of Ohio which was first depicted in 1803.

Tradition attributes the design to the cooperative vision of Thomas Worthington, the first U.S. Senator and “Father of Ohio Statehood,” Edward Tiffin, Ohio’s first governor, and William Creighton, Ohio’s first secretary of state. After an all-night meeting at Adena, they viewed the sun rising over Mount Logan and chose the scene for the state seal. Much of the land illustrated in the Great Seal of the State of Ohio now comprises Great Seal State Park.

Planted Trees

Each of these trees is native to Ohio and will grow strong for generations in the soils at the memorial grove.

  • 5 White oak (Quercus alba)
  • 1 Swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor)
  • 1 Northern red oak (Quercus rubra)
  • 1 Chinquapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)
  • 1 Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
  • 1 Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)
  • 1 Red maple (Acer rubrum)
  • 3 Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • 1 Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida)

At the April 30 ceremony, Governor DeWine, First Lady Fran DeWine, and ODNR Director Mertz planted the first tree in the new grove. The remaining trees were planted by COVID-19 survivors, families of Ohioans killed by the virus, healthcare workers, first responders, teachers, students, local community leaders, and other essential workers including representatives from the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio National Guard, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, and Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

Photos from the Ceremony