We hear from a lot of green burial enthusiasts eager to make green burial available near them, but they don't know where to begin. It is virtually impossible to create a blueprint that will suit every region, type of cemetery, and budget, but we have done our best to cover some of the basic issues most will encounter in our white paper Start-Up Tips for Green Burial Cemetery Operators. You'll find that article plus many more that describe the running and maintenance of green cemeteries on the page Education>Recommended Reading. There is helpful information about deed and tax filing, endowments, soil and water work, plot plans and maps, bringing abutters along, figuring out who to speak to at the local and state level, and finding out what professionals may need to be involved. Topics covered include:
Knowing the Law
Forming Your Plan
Developing a Financial Strategy
Determining Your Governance Structure
Knowing the Players
Acquiring the Right Property
Filing the Application
Application Follow-Up Process
Conservation Burial Self-Assessment
While the GBC encourages green burial at all levels, conservation burial grounds are especially in need. They are also more complex since they entail burial in a cemetery plus commitment to conservation land trust best practices and principles. Anyone considering developing a conservation level burial ground is urged to use the following questions to assess whether this is a project they are prepared to commit to for the long term. Thanks to conservation burial consultants Heidi Hannapel and Jeff Masten of LANDMATTERS for their help in developing these insightful questions.
General 1. What brings you to green burial? 2. What attracts you to the idea? 3. Have you visited any green burial sites? 4. Are you aware of the distinction between green burial and conservation burial?
Relationship with Land Trust 1. What relationship do you have with the land trust? 2. Is this your first contact with the land trust or (are you helping their board develop a cemetery committee?) 2. Do you have relationships within the conservation community? 3. Are there other community partners you have identified? 4. Are you proposing a project on land the land trust already owns? 5. Are you proposing a project on new land the land trust must acquire?
Personal Goals 1. What are your goals for the project? 2. What resources are you bringing? 3. What influence do you have? 4. What are your limitations, barriers, obstacles? 5. Is timing an issue?
Project 1. Have you researched your state’s Cemetery law? 2. Do you have a green burial model in mind? 3. Who is leading the project? (Hello, Champion?) 4. What is your background? 5. Do you have land available? 6. Who would run the cemetery?