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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Connecting with Natural Burialists Near You

I'm still gathering information from local hospitals about a family's right to reclaim their deceased and bring them home (or to the crematory). Apparently, so few -- if any -- families make this request that none of the administrators I spoke to had any idea how their doctors were supposed to respond to it. As far as they know, no hospital policy on the issue exists. The administrators promise to look into the matter further and get back.

In the meantime, I'll turn to addressing the question I'm asked most often: is anyone else in my area interested in starting a natural cemetery? The question comes up frequently enough that I've created a database of names/contacts and have started putting people from the same general region in touch with each other.

I'm happy to add your name to the list. When someone from your region writes in, I'll forward on your name and whatever contact information you care to share.

Here's the list to date, by state/region:

California (Humboldt County, Los Padres National Forest)

Colorado (Denver area)


Georgia (Central part of the state, Savannah)

Indiana (Bloomington)

Kentucky (Lexington)

Maine (Orrington, Solon)

Ohio (Cleveland)

Pennsylvania (Bucks County, Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia)

Virginia (Roanoke)

Add to this list the score of groups that already exist in the following states: Texas (Austin), greater Midwest (group based in Wisconsin), New York (Tarrytown), as well as Canada (Ontario and British Columbia), among others.

I'm in the process of putting together a short primer on how to go about getting a natural cemetery off -- or on -- the ground. I'll post that at a later date.

Note on the photograph: This is the entrance to the Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve, outside Ithaca, New York.


David H said...

David H here in Minneapolis MN. I am very interested in learning more about the specifics of launching/creating a natural burial alternative in my area. The idea is relatively new to me, but has opened a strong interest. I am really lookig for the basics at this point. Advice on required permits, business plan development for SBA loan, maybe a name of someone in another area that has started a similar business and would have practical experience tips to offer. I believe the ineterest in this area for environmental responsibility and the general income level of the residents makes this an excellent idea.

Mark Harris said...

Hi, David,
Sorry to get back to you so late. Yours is a question a number of people have asked. In fact, I've been working on a blog entry on just how some of the existing natural cemeteries have gotten off the ground, so to speak. I'll post that later. In the meantime you should contact Joe Sehee, dir./founder of the Green Burial Council, a non-profit based in Santa Fe that's working to encourage green burial, including developing green standards by which true natural cemeteries can be indentified. Contact Joe at the Green Burial Council -- E-mail: Phone: 888-966-3330

More on this later --

Anonymous said...

This is a message for David H. I'm a reporter with the St. Paul Pioneer Press and I'm working on a story about natural burials. I'm interested in talking to people in Minnesota doing work in this area. Can you give me a call at 651-228-5560, or e-mail me a number and a time to reach you? I'm at Thanks.

Richard Chin
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Shane MacRhodes said...

Would love to get information for the Eugene, Oregon area!

Mark Harris said...

Hello, "Shanerh,"
I'd be happy to send you contact information for green burial folks in Eugene. I'd rather not post that here (for privacy sake) but would be glad to send it to you via e-mail. Please send an e-mail to me:


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