project leader
Melissa L
4909 Bassett Avenue
(Forest View Neighborhood)
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We did it! Thank you!

the project

One of our trees has passed, but it is still filled with life! Friends of Forest View Cemetery is working to raise funds to have True Timber Arborists remove the limbs, while preserving 30 feet of the trunk for wildlife. The tree's cavities, and all the nooks and crannies along the remaining trunk, will continue to provide shelter and homes for animals, insects, and birds.

Forest View Cemetery was once forgotten. It sat for decades in the heart of a city neighborhood, blanketed in poison ivy and brambles, and loaded with trash and debris. Its huge willow oaks kept watch and struggled to survive as the English ivy grew thicker on their trunks. Friends of Forest View Cemetery formed in 2017 and began work to preserve the cemetery, its land, and its mature trees.

In our work to learn more about the cemetery, we found that the land owner was a land development company that had been defunct for decades.  There were thousands owed in back taxes and the city's assessor's office had stopped assessing it. It was a nuisance property. Friends of Forest View Cemetery worked with the city and the Enrichmond Foundation, and the land was transferred to the Enrichmond Foundation in 2020 with the goal of protecting the cemetery in perpetuity.

The cemetery is noted on civil war maps and is shown on a plat from 1898. Neighborhood lore tells the story of a Native American man who lived on the property and tended the well, and of a woman who was too large for a coffin and buried upright in a straight back chair. Archeologists confirm that it is likely the burial ground of people who were marginalized and enslaved. We have not found any markers as of yet. GRIVA (Genealogical Research Institute of Virginia) has generously worked to help us learn more about the cemetery and its history. We continue to work to honor those who are buried here, even though we don’t know their names. 

Over the years, and with the help of dedicated friends and volunteers, we have brought-in goats and sheep to safely remove the poison ivy. We have freed the trees of English ivy and removed mountains of trash and debris. We will be bringing GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) into the cemetery this July to help locate all of the burials.

True Timber Arborists donated their time in 2019 to try and save this tree. English ivy, with stems five inches thick, had completely covered it. The tree was struggling. We had hopes that it would be able to recover, but it was too far gone.

Leaving the 30 feet of the trunk intact will allow the tree to continue to provide a habitat for wildlife. Forest View Cemetery is filled with the sounds of Barred Owl laughter, hawk calls, woodpecker taps, the scurry of squirrels, bat squeaks, and bird songs. We are leaving as much of the tree as we can for these wonderfully loud neighbors.

This grand old tree will stand, even in death, with a trunk thirty foot tall - a symbol of a life lived. It’s the only marker we have in the cemetery so far.


the steps

True Timber Arborists will remove dead willow oak near the alley of Forest View Cemetery. Thirty feet of the trunk will be left standing to provide habitat for wildlife. Brush will be hauled away.


why we're doing it

We are removing the parts of the tree that pose a safety hazard, while maintaining 30 feet of the trunk for wildlife. Forest View Cemetery is a sacred space. We are working to honor the lives of those who are buried here by bringing the cemetery back to a place of remembrance and beauty, and in doing so, preserving and protecting this green space in perpetuity. Please join us!


Updated Budget (9/13/21):

Invoice for removing dead willow oak near the alley of the cemetery: $1,300

TOTAL RAISED = $1,334.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $40.02

Original Budget:

True Timber Arborists will remove the dead willow oak near the alley of Forest View Cemetery. Stump will be cut, but not ground. 30 feet of the trunk will be left standing to provide habitat for wildlife. Brush will be hauled away. Total = $1,920.00

ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.  



We did it! Thank you!

Hello Friends of Forest View Cemetery!

Good work was done today! True Timber Arborists removed the dead tree, leaving 30 feet for wildlife! They worked mindfully and their teamwork was incredible. It’s not easy to bring large, brittle limbs down safely and gently, but they did! There is an art to their work and their care for the trees was evident. They even cut the stump's branches to mimic how it would look if the limb had fallen naturally, to appeal to the hawks and owls who use the tree as a perch! 

Thank you for your generous donations! You made this happen!



Thank you!

Thank you! Your beautiful and generous donations have brought us closer to removing the tree! We almost made our goal, and the city just trimmed along the alley side and True Timber Arborists will come and see what we can remove within the funds we raised. Yay!




This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Stella and Mary Graham-Landau
  • Paul D.
  • Su T.
  • Lisa A.
  • RVA goats
  • Su T.
  • Gaye G.
  • Will and Stephanie
  • Suzanne T.
  • Melissa L
  • Cindi M.
  • Roz
  • A West Swansboro neighbor
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Greta B.
  • Rob and Mindy C.
  • ERICA B.
  • Anonymous
  • Gabrielle G.
  • Julie W.
  • Catherine Harding
  • Clay McDonald
  • Anonymous