Jason Schulte

was a skeptic when the email came across my desk.

“Today, Better Place Forests announced its expansion to Scandia to create Minnesota’s first conservation memorial forest along the rock river of St. Croix Valley,” was the first sentence from the press release. 

It later asked if I was interested in doing a tour of the facility and meeting the CEO/founder. 

Of course, why not? The words, first conservation memorial forest had me. 

I didn’t know what to expect, so I had my doubts. 

I met Sandy Gibson, the CEO/Founder and heard his story. Right away after hearing both of his parents passed away before he was 12, you were hooked. Visiting his parents’ gravesite for years and not having the desired privacy one is seeking at times like that. Okay, I get that.

And as he told the story, the breaking point was having a bus screech, as his parents’ cemetery was less than 15 feet from the street. 

What about variety? I asked. As he was explaining, he stated, he wants section of the forests to speak to you, so you could either be ensconced in the woods, or by the water, or down in a valley.  

I can get that. How many people in this area would want their final resting place to be near a river?  I bet a lot of them would. 

And as Gibson was going throughout the forest, the sunlight was breaking through the trees on that warm morning; he made comments on how it was even more beautiful. Yeah, I told myself, he’s right. 

What about cost, because it’s a natural question? Gibson said their process is about half the cost of a traditional ceremony and burial. Another positive checkmark. 

He also had another telling point about the benefits of Better Place Forests. 

“This is about your family,” he explained. “You want it to be beautiful and to give them comfort while you are gone.” 

Maybe what was the final selling point to me was this. Gibson is also a client and has a good reason for it. 

“When it comes to death, you are used to seeing black,” he explained. “Now, it’s enormously comforting to see a tree when that comes to mind. You know where your physical forever is.” 

In a span of over an hour, the skeptic was changed. 

I can see it, part 2

In this space last week, I hoped for the Minnesota Vikings to keep losing so the chances of acquiring a top draft pick increased because after two games, this ship looked sunk. 

One week later, I nearly got everything I wanted. Were the Vikings more competitive than the week before? Yes. Did they still lose? Yes. 

There are now eight winless teams in the National Football League and the Vikings are one of them.

They play another winless team Sunday in the Houston Texans. 


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