Natural burials that permit full decomposition can take place in conventional cemeteries as well as dedicated natural burial grounds. Therefore, the act of burial should be considered distinct from landscaping and management techniques that may vary widely from site to site and are used to maintain the burial area in perpetuity.
A natural burial ground often uses grave markers that do not intrude on the landscape. These natural markers can include shrubs and trees, or a flat indigenous stone which may be engraved. The burial ground may be designed with centralized memorial structures where visitors can sit within an emerging forest. As in all cemeteries, there are records kept of the exact location of each interment, often using survey techniques such as GIS.
Planting native trees, shrubs, and flowers on or near the grave establishes a living memorial and helps form a protected wildlife preserve. Cemetery legislation protects natural burial preserves in perpetuity from future development while the establishment of a conservation easement prevents future owners from altering the original intent for these burial grounds. For people who are mindful of the cyclical nature of life, a natural burial is an alternative to conventional burial methods.
Although most local cemeteries require the use of a burial vault to maintain the ground level, Lane Funeral Homes is currently working many of the local cemeteries to find acceptable alternative uses for the burial vault. In some instances, the vault can be place upside down over top of the casket which helps ensure two things: The casket can be as close to the ground as possible, and the basic vault although upside down, still provides a suitable surface for maintaining ground levels.
Because the body is not embalmed, we would require the casket to be closed for public calling hours but the deceased could be prepared for a private family viewing at anytime before the public calling hours began. Many families choose this option when utilizing green burial techniques because it offers family members private time with the deceased before visitors arrive.
Each year, 22,500 cemeteries across the United States bury approximately: 30 million board feet of hardwood caskets, 90,272 tons of steel caskets, 14,000 tons of steel vaults, 2,700 tons of copper and bronze caskets, 1,636,000 tons of reinforced concrete vaults, and 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid, which most commonly includes formaldehyde.
Foxfield Preserve in Wilmot Ohio is the closest to us currently. In the links section below, you can click on their link for more information. It is just southwest of Canton, about one and one-half of an hour from the Youngstown area.