Welcome to a journey that intertwines the final chapter of our lives with the enduring beauty of nature. “Conservation Cemetery Guide: Eco-Friendly Final Resting Places” is more than just a guide. It’s an invitation to consider how our last act on earth can contribute to the preservation of our planet.

The idea of conservation cemeteries might be new to some. However, it’s rooted in a profound respect for nature and a desire to leave a minimal environmental footprint. It’s about making a choice that reflects our values, respects the earth, and contributes to a larger purpose.

Whether you’re planning for the future or helping a loved one make important decisions, we’re here to help. This guide will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of your options, the process, and the impact of choosing a conservation cemetery.

So, let’s explore how our final choices can reflect our deepest values and contribute to the preservation of the beauty that surrounds us.

The Philosophy Of A Conservation Cemetery

At the heart of the conservation cemetery movement lies a profound respect for the natural world and a commitment to preserving it, even in death. These spaces, known as conservation burial grounds, offer a final resting place that aligns with the principles of conservation and sustainability.

By choosing a conservation burial, individuals make a powerful statement: their end-of-life decisions are an extension of their conservation values, a way to protect and preserve the land for future generations.

Natural Burial Ground

Conservation cemeteries operate under the philosophy that burial practices should harmonize with nature, not disrupt it. This means managing the entire cemetery with sustainable practices that maintain the ecological integrity of the landscape.

Unlike traditional cemeteries, conservation burial grounds prohibit the use of toxic chemicals, such as embalming fluids, and non-biodegradable materials in burials.

Instead, they promote natural burials, where the body is returned to the earth in a biodegradable coffin or shroud, allowing it to decompose naturally and contribute to the soil’s health.

Difference Between Green Burial and Conservation Burial

The green burial movement is supported by organizations like the Green Burial Council, which sets standards for eco-friendly burials and certifies cemeteries that adhere to these practices.

“Green burial grounds are cemeteries that adhere to the tenets of green burial: no embalming, no vaults, no impervious containers. They may be privately owned, church or municipal operations, for-profit commercial enterprises, or operate in partnership with land conservancies, or a combination.”

Many cemeteries offer green burial, but not all green burial providers are conservation cemeteries.

Green Burial Council offers this list of cemeteries offering green burials.

Where Can You Find A Conservation Burial Ground?

On the above list, just two of the cemeteries stand out as conservation cemeteries: Bluestem Cemetery and Carolina Memorial Sanctuary.

Learn more about conservation burials at the Conservation Burial Alliance. The alliance defines the primary characteristics of a conservation burial ground as including:

  • Minimal burial density within the cemetery
  • Management of the land with defined conservation goals
  • Operation on protected land affiliated in some way with a land trust or other conservation entity.

Conservation cemeteries are part of larger nature preserves, where the land is protected by conservation easements or managed by land trusts. They offer more than green burial cemeteries.

Conservation burial is what it sounds like: natural burial on lands protected by a recognized conservation land trust entity where conservation principles are employed to support sustainable cemetery management practices, while restoring and protecting the ecological integrity of the land.”

This not only guarantees the land will be preserved in perpetuity but also allows the cemetery to serve as a living classroom, educating visitors about the importance of conservation and the role that sustainable cemetery management practices play in protecting our planet.

These sites offer a meaningful way to say goodbye to loved ones, allowing them to rest in peace amidst the beauty of nature.

The burial sites, marked by natural features like stones or native plants, blend seamlessly into the surrounding landscape, preserving the natural aesthetic and ensuring the area remains a vibrant habitat for all living things.

Benefits of Conservation Cemeteries

The benefits of choosing a conservation burial extend beyond the environmental. They offer a way to reduce the carbon footprint associated with traditional burials and cremation, which often involve the use of fossil fuels and the creation of greenhouse gases.

Furthermore, conservation burials can be more cost-effective, as they eliminate the need for expensive caskets, vaults, and the use of embalming fluids.

For those who choose cremation, many conservation cemeteries also offer the option to have cremated remains buried or scattered on the property, ensuring that even in cremation, one’s final resting choice reflects a commitment to conservation and sustainability.

Choosing a conservation cemetery is a way to ensure that one’s final act on earth aligns with a life lived in harmony with nature. It’s a choice that supports the preservation of natural habitats, protects the land from development, and offers a place of beauty and solace for the living to visit and reflect.

In making this choice, individuals lay the foundation for a legacy that honors both their life and the natural world they cherished.

Conservation Cemeteries in North Carolina (NC)

In North Carolina, conservation cemeteries are not just places for burial; they are sanctuaries of life dedicated to preserving the natural landscape while honoring those who have passed.

These special places operate under the principles of natural burial, where the body is returned to the earth in the most natural way possible, without the use of toxic chemicals or non-biodegradable materials.

It’s a process that not only respects the deceased but also protects and preserves the land for future generations.

Beyond A Green Burial Ground

The concept of a conservation cemetery nature preserve goes beyond the simple act of green burial practices.

These are burials protected by conservation easements and managed with the highest level of sustainability in mind.

Conservation cemeteries are often governed by land trusts or part of a conservation burial alliance, ensuring that the land remains undisturbed and that the natural beauty and ecological integrity of the area are maintained.

Low Burial Density

One of the key features of conservation cemeteries in North Carolina is their low burial density.

This means that graves are spaced out, allowing the land to remain as natural and untouched as possible. It’s not uncommon to find burial sites nestled in a meadow or beneath the canopy of a woodland, marked only by a simple stone or native plants.

Conservation Principles

Principles of conservation and sustainability guide the management of a conservation burial ground.

From controlling invasive plants to promoting the growth of native trees and flowers, every aspect of the cemetery’s development and upkeep is carefully considered to minimize its impact on the environment.

This commitment is to careful conservation practices reflecting a broader movement towards more eco-friendly death care options, which are gaining popularity across the state and the nation.

While there are many green burials in North Carolina, there are only a few conservation cemeteries. One of these conservation preserves is in our very own Piedmont region, just north of Hillsborough.

Bluestem Conservation Cemetery, Cedar Grove, North Carolina

Bluestem Conservation Cemetery is a serene and sacred space nestled within a nature preserve of our Piedmont region in Cedar Grove, North Carolina. It offers a unique final resting place that harmonizes with the principles of conservation and natural burial.

Here’s what makes Bluestem Conservation Cemetery stand out in the Piedmont:

A Place of Reverence in a Nature Preserve

Bluestem is not just a cemetery; it’s a carefully preserved piece of land that emphasizes native grassland restoration, providing a habitat for local wildlife and a peaceful setting for contemplation and reflection.

The cemetery is part of a larger effort to protect and restore the natural landscape of the Piedmont region, with fields of native grasslands and a sky that stretches open and wide.

Trails, Quiet Areas, and Natural Burial

The preserve features a network of trails that invite visitors to explore the prairie, teeming with crickets and birds, and find solace in shaded woodland edges or quiet glades near ponds.

The sounds of birdsong, the presence of butterflies and dragonflies, and the rootedness of trees create a tranquil environment for both the living and the departed.

Bluestem Conservation Cemetery offers natural burial options, allowing for a return to the earth in the gentlest and most respectful way possible.

Community and Conservation

Bluestem is deeply rooted in community and conservation values. It was documented by graduate students from Duke University’s Community-Based Environmental Management program, who explored what Bluestem means to its visitors, volunteers, and the families who choose it as a final resting place.

Bluestem Conservation Cemetery embodies a philosophy where loving the earth and feeling loved in return transforms the relationship into a sacred bond, as eloquently stated by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

In addition, there is plenty of room here; natural burial plots measure 20 x 15 feet. Cremation ash burial plots measure 5 x 5 feet.

Location and Contact Information

Bluestem Conservation Cemetery is located at 1900 Hurdle Mills Road, Cedar Grove, North Carolina 27231, north of Hillsborough. It stands as a burial option in the Piedmont area, supporting conservation efforts and offering a meaningful connection to the natural world.

If you live in the heart of Carolina, you can find a serene backdrop for honoring loved ones or for making your own final arrangements at Bluestem Conservation Cemetery.

This burial in the natural world is more than just a final resting place; it’s a commitment to green burial practices within a community that values environmental management, conservation, and the beauty of nature.

It offers an alternative to traditional burial methods, focusing on sustainability, the preservation of natural habitats, and the creation of a space where nature is enough.

We Can Help

At Renaissance Funeral Home and Crematory, we understand that the process of saying goodbye to a loved one is deeply personal and can be incredibly challenging.

Our compassionate team is dedicated to providing support, guidance, and personalized care to help you through this difficult time. We offer a range of services designed to honor the life and legacy of your loved one in a way that feels meaningful and true to their spirit.

Personalized Funeral and Memorial Services

We believe that every life is unique, and the celebration of that life should be, too. Our team works closely with families to create personalized funeral and memorial services that reflect the individuality of their loved one.

Whether you prefer a traditional funeral, a contemporary celebration of life, or a simple and intimate gathering, we are here to facilitate your wishes with respect and dignity.

Expert Cremation Services

For those who choose cremation, Renaissance Funeral Home and Crematory offers expert cremation services with a range of options to suit your needs. 

Our on-site crematory ensures that your loved one is always in our professional care, giving you peace of mind during this sensitive time. In addition, we now also offer aquamation services.

Support Beyond the Service

We understand that grief does not end with the funeral or cremation service. That’s why we offer ongoing support to help you cope with your loss. Our team is here to support you in the days, weeks, and months following your loved one’s passing.

A Commitment to Compassion and Excellence

At Renaissance Funeral Home and Crematory, our commitment to compassion and excellence is at the heart of everything we do. We strive to provide a comforting environment where families can come together to honor, remember, and celebrate the lives of their loved ones. 

With years of experience serving our community, we take pride in our ability to offer guidance and support during one of life’s most challenging moments.

We are here to help you navigate this journey with care, understanding, and respect. Please reach out to us at any time, whether you are in immediate need or planning for the future. Our team is ready to assist you with the compassion and professionalism you deserve.