Green burial is a way in which we bury our loved ones with minimal impact on the earth.
It is how people have been buried for centuries and around the world, where family and community members are active participants in returning a loved one to the earth.
Bodies are not embalmed, nor encased in metal caskets nor concrete vaults. They are simply returned to a place of rest in the earth, with biodegradable materials such as a pine box, a cloth shroud, a favorite quilt, or nothing at all.
Their burial site is recorded just as in any other cemetery and family and friends can return to their site whenever necessary.
Conservation burial occurs when a green burial takes place in a natural cemetery on permanently protected land.
Conservation Burial Grounds
A conservation burial ground looks like the natural area that surrounds it. Imagine a walk through your favorite woods, or pasture, or hilltop, or alongside a river. The intrinsic natural world, just as it is, is enough.
A conservation burial ground is a natural cemetery that honors nature and the natural passages of life. They are sited on land that has been permanently protected with a conservation easement.
Not sure if should include: A conservation easement, also known as a conservation restriction or conservation agreement, is a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. A conservation easement allows landowners to continue to own and use their land, and they can also sell the easement or pass it on to their heirs. A conservation easement on a burial ground means (Jeff to fill in).
There are currently 10 conservation burial grounds in the United States, as defined by the Green Burial Council.
Conservation Burial Grounds and Land Trusts
Land trusts own land and understand the potential for certain properties to help support the organization’s mission through complementary revenue generating uses.
Conservation burial grounds can develop revenue to support land trust operations, stewardship of land and the acquisition of additional conservation lands.
LANDMATTERS manages Grounded, a conservation burial ground operating company that can support a land trust's development of a conservation burial ground project while not drifting from its own mission orientation.
Top photo: Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve, Newfield, New York Middle: Conservation Crew, Shepherdstown, West Virginia Bottom: Foxfield Preserve, Wilmot, Ohio