International Forest of Friendship
The Forest is nestled on a gentle slope overlooking Lake Warnock, on the outskirts of Atchison. It is made up of trees from all fifty states and thirty-five countries around the world where Honorees reside. Each tree has its own flag, and on special occasions, the Forest is ablaze with the brilliance of colors of more than 100 flags blowing in the breeze.
There are trees from George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate, the Bicentennial American Spruce, a tree from Amelia's grandfather's farm, a redbud from President Eisenhower's farm, and the Moon Tree grown from a seed taken to the moon by Command Pilot Stuart Roosa on Apollo 14. This latter tree honors the seventeen astronauts who gave their lives in America's pioneering of space exploration. Their names are enshrined around the tree and the names of the living astronauts are put in a protective outer circle. In 2003 a monument near the tree was dedicated to the seven astronauts lost on Shuttle Columbia.
Winding through the Forest is Memory Lane, honoring those who have, or still are, contributing to all facets of aviation and aerospace. It is a five foot wide (wheel chair friendly) walk and embedded in the concrete walk are granite plaques engraved with the names of over 1200 honorees. Included in this illustrious list are markers memorializing such aviation notables as Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Jeana Yeager, Rajiv Gandhi, the Wright Brothers, Sally Ride, Chuck Yeager, Beryl Markham, General "Jimmy" Doolittle, President George H. W. Bush, General Colin Powell, and Lt Col (now Col) Eileen M. Collins, the first woman to pilot a shuttle (Discovery) into space. In 1976, Secretary of the Interior, Kleppe dedicated Memory Lane as the first National Recreation Trail in Kansas.
From its inception, the International Forest of Friendship was founded and lead by Fay Gillis Wells From its inception, the International Forest of Friendship was founded and led by Fay Gillis Wells and Joe Carrigan, who served as Co-Chairmen. Fay Wells was one of the Charter members of The Ninety-Nines and has been honored for her great interest and support of aviation and as an outstanding journalist. Joe Carrigan resided in Atchison and was responsible for the daily decisions needed to run the Forest. Unfortunately, we lost Joe in June of 1996 and Fay in 2002. It will be difficult, if not next to impossible, to replace both of them but their sons, Pat Carrigan and Lin Wells, have assumed the duties of Co-Chairmen. In 1991, a beautiful gazebo was dedicated to Fay Wells, in honor of her leadership to the Forest, and paid for by her many friends throughout the World.
The 2012 theme will be "Flying, Forests, and the Future - Emphasizing young people who are contributing to flying and forests." Dates to be announced.
It is a wonderful and peaceful respite from the many pressures of business and everyday living. It is a place of reflection and rededication. It is a place of spiritual communication. It is the INTERNATIONAL FOREST OF FRIENDSHIP.
by Lois Feigenbaum,
Lin Wells and Pat Carrigan
2011 honorees inducted into the 2011 International Forest of Friend are:
Who are the Honorees inducted into the Forest of Friendship?
You can contact the International Forest of Friendship for further information:
Kay Baker, Executive Director
Forest of Friendship
925 Main Street
Atchison, KS 66002
913-367-1419 or 785-847-6800