A Walk to Remember and Tree-Planting Memorial

For more than 20 years, families and Michigan Medicine care team members, in partnership with Nichols Arboretum, have met on a Saturday each October to acknowledge the significance of perinatal loss and remember loved pregnancies and precious babies who are not physically with us.  

From the beginning of time, families have experienced perinatal loss, but it wasn’t until the 1980’s that our society began recognizing the need for supportive care in grieving pregnancy and newborn death. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan declared October to be “National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month,” calling for communities to come together for support and recognition of these significant losses.  Read the Presidential Proclamation here.

Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were not able to meet in person this year. We know this event is important for families who have attended over many years as well as families who have experienced a loss more recently. Our care team members also find this to be a very important event to honor and recognize the lives and families we have cared for. Given this significance, we held a virtual gathering event.   

A Virtual Walk to Remember and Tree Dedication

The 2020 event took place on Saturday, October 17, 2020 

Music courtesy of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital music therapists.

The order of events of the 2020 Walk to Remember and Tree Dedication video:

  • The trees from 1997 – 2019 (00:02)
  • Welcome from Corrie Ziegman, Clinical Nursing Director of the NICU (03:47)
  • Family story – the Pritula family (07:45)
  • A walk in the Arb (22:41)
  • 2020 tree dedication with Chaplin Kamau Ayubbi (28:02)
  • A return walk and closing (31:21)

2020 Tree Information

Tree and Bench

The Walk to Remember 2020 tree is a Magnolia 'Toro'.  It is a strong-growing, larger-specimen tree which is very hardy.  It will grow 8-10' tall and 6-8' wide in 10 years. 

This tree boasts large and fragrant beautiful blossoms of light cream pink with prominent rose-red streaking.

The 2020 tree can be found alongside most of the previous years’ tribute trees in or near the Tuliptree Valley in the Arb.  View the Magnolia Glade Tribute Trees map here.

The 2002 – 2006 tribute trees are located in the Main Valley of the Arb.  View the Main Valley Tribute Trees map here.


A Walk to Remember Leaves

Part of the Walk to Remember tradition includes an opportunity for participants to place a brief message on a paper leaf which is carried to the tree planting site and left in a basket.  Leaves from every year are saved and archived in a scrapbook. 

For the 2020 Walk to Remember, you may create a short message that will be written on a paper leaf for you.  Create your leaf message here. 

Contact Information

If you have additional questions, please email walktoremember@med.umich.edu.