April 2021 • Green Burial Council News
Encouraging environmentally sustainable death-care options and the preservation of natural areas through green burial.
Provider News

More in Tune With the Cycle of Nature
Cincinnati Magazine tells the story of how Heritage Acres Memorial Sanctuary came to be, from its inspiration to realization, fueled by a love of the land and a goal to preserve it. This unique journey was filled with passion and purpose from its initial spark, along with serendipity and keen insight, leading to the creation of the area’s only dedicated natural burial preserve which you can read about here, by Amy Knueven Brownlee, December 2020.

Bill Gupton (left) and his son Patrick Sanders manage Heritage Acres Memorial Sanctuary in Anderson Township. Photo: Chris Von Hollie

to the following burial grounds for your recent GBC-certification.

Please visit the GBC webpage, Cemeteries, for more info.

Heritage Acres Memorial Sanctuary, Cincinnati, Ohio, is certified as a natural burial ground, the first and only one in Cincinnati. They believe that creating a nature preserve with green burial brings compassion both for the earth, and for fellow human beings. Heritage Acres connects environmental stewardship to end-of-life choices, leaving a legacy for future generations by protecting land from development, preserving habitats and ecosystems, and allowing bodies to return naturally to the earth. They also offer educational and recreational opportunities for the public to enjoy nature. 

Heritage Acres Memorial Sanctuary, Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo: Donelle Dreese

Fallbrook Masonic Cemetery in Fallbrook, California, is certified as a hybrid cemetery, one of the first GBC-certified green burial locations in San Diego County. Open to the public since 1918 with a long, rich family tradition of service, Fallbrook has beautiful views as well as quiet tree-lined spots perfect for visitation and remembering your loved one. Fallbrook has taken steps to feed the demand for clean renewable living and now offers green burial, with natural burial containers and no embalming, where families have the opportunity to participate in the burial ritual process.

Fallbrook Masonic Cemetery in Fallbrook, California. Photo: Fallbrook Masonic Cemetery website

Fernwood Cemetery, Mill Valley, California, is certified as a natural burial ground, one of the country’s first environmentally conscious green cemeteries—a 32-acre memorial landscape where natural burial and cremation rituals are interwoven with land restoration and preservation. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the rolling hills include both forest and meadow burial sites. A National Wildlife Federation Certified Habitat, Fernwood’s green cemetery has hillsides blanketed with heritage oaks, bay laurel trees, sword ferns, and native grasses, that provide habitat for bobcats, blue heron, wild turkey, deer, and cranes.

The Founders’ Forest burial sites at Fernwood represent the pre-restoration of an oak woodland with the removal of eucalyptus trees and other invasive species. Photo: Fernwood website

Whispering Hills Memorial Nature Preserve in LaGrange, Georgia, is certified as a natural burial ground on land with a historic past, a restorative presence, and a sustainable future. The Preserve’s nutrient-rich soil grows hardwoods such as white ash, white oak, red oak, redbuds, hickory, Florida maple, loblolly pines, and dogwoods, a forested setting on rolling hills with deeply dissected ravines formed by two creeks. The natural cemetery in the Preserve has forests, pastures, meadows, rock outcroppings, and two spring-fed streams, all maintained as a natural area for native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses.


Whispering Hills Memorial Nature Preserve, LaGrange, Georgia. Photo: Whispering Hills Memorial Nature Preserve website
Green Funeral Proficiency Award

Congratulations to Manuel de Jesus Osorio, funeral director, Joe Jackson Funeral Chapels, Laredo, Texas, for being a recent Green Funeral Proficiency Award recipient. We thank you for your contribution to green funeral service education and wish you luck as you move forward in the field. Others who would like to learn more about becoming green funeral service proficient, should visit our webpage, Green Funerals Course.

A Natural Burial for Gracie

This month’s blog by Susan Greer will warm your heart and maybe cause you to shed a tear as you read about Gracie’s journey to her final resting place. “I had never experienced a natural burial. Then I learned the hard way—firsthand—just how beautiful it is.” read more here.

A blanket of cedar boughs covers Gracie (left). A heart made of pine cones over Gracie’s smooth white snowy grave (right). Photos: Susan Greer
"Going green, one last time." This is the story of Dennis and Joan Pillsbury who were very interested in recycling and reusing and having a low carbon-footprint. “We have a home that’s energy efficient and it just made sense to have an end-of-life plan that was consistent with our values,” said Joan Pillsbury. You can read their story written by Virginia Brown, March 16, 2021, on the multi-media publishing website, iPondr.

Family members wind through the woods during a burial at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary in Mills River, North Carolina June 2017. The sanctuary held its first burial in 2016. Photo:Dan Bailey

"Earth Matters: Green burial in a conservation cemetery," is by Judith Lorei and Kari Blood, for the Daily Hampshire Gazette. "Imagine your favorite walking path through a quiet forest or a scenic meadow, the songbirds flitting among tall grasses, at rest in the morning dew." read more here

(above) A natural headstone in Cedar Brook Burial Ground in Limington, Maine, a conservation cemetery that provides a sustainable alternative to conventional burial. Photo: Jeff Masten, LANDMATTERS

Shrouded Dummies for Outreach

Last year I prepared my green burial outreach shtick with the creation of my star prop, a dummy named Grizelda—a shrouded decedent stand-in (lie-in?). I was ineligible for space at my local farmers market, so I opted for the free speech area at the entrance. I collected Grizelda, a table, and giveaways, and strapped them all to a hand truck so I could parade it to the market, hoping to elicit stares and spark conversation before I even arrived at my spot. Then life happened crashing all around us with a pandemic of epic force, and I was not going anywhere near live humans to chat, with or without my sidekick, Grizelda.

I shyly shared my dummy concept with another green burial advocate, Anne Weston, only to discover that she also has a half-size dummy named GB. He is based on a popular children’s doll and reduces the anxiety people may have about imagining a dead body wrapped up like a burrito. A compact version never even occurred to me and made a whole lot more sense than schlepping a five-foot dummy, but I also wanted to practice shrouding with Grizelda. I thought her public persona was unique and provocative, but Anne beat me to it—and GB is a lot easier to setup!

Anne said the small shrouded form attracts curious questions from onlookers, including children. “What’s in the package? Why does it have a cloth wrapping? You can be buried just like that?” Oh my. And of course there are the naysayers who can’t look death anywhere close in the eye. Even though they are not looking, a seed has been cast—all part of spreading the word!

Grizelda and I have yet to make our debut during the pandemic, as I am not quite ready to mingle with the public and talk about the options and benefits of home funerals and green burials. Until then I will be able to finesse my shrouding technique, and look forward to the day when the exquisitely-shrouded Grizelda and I will hit the streets, hopefully sooner than later. —A. Jach  
(top) Grizelda and a table strapped to a hand truck ready to roll. Photo: Tavo Olmos. (bottom) GB with a yardstick, and (below) wrapped in his beautiful burrito-style shroud. Photos: Anne Weston

What's Happening

For more details about these events please go to the GBC webpage, What’s Happening.

It’s Your Funeral: Make It Eco-friendly and Affordable
by Lee Webster, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dartmouth
Fridays, May 14, May 21, and May 28, 2021  
2 pm—4 pm EDT
Online via Zoom

Albuquerque Death Cafés
hosted by Gail Rubin 
Sundays, May 16, and June 27, 2021 
5 pm–6:30 pm EDT

2021 Virtual ICCFA Annual Convention and Exposition
International Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association
May 17–21, 2021 • Online

Help Further the Movement
We appreciate your support and look forward to having what is necessary to help further the green burial movement throughout the United States and Canada. Help us grow the movement with your donation by going to the GBC website, or you can use the button below.
Thank you!
Green Burial Council International is a 501(c)3 educational nonprofit operating in the United States and Canada. For tax deduction purposes, our tax number is 45-4422635.
Green Burial Council, 2720 Cold Springs Road, Placerville, CA  95667
Copyright © 2021, Green Burial Council, All rights reserved.

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