Follow-up to Virtual Speaker Series #2

Deeply Rooted ~ Building Community Through Conservation Burial

We had overwhelming response to the video, Deeply Rooted, produced by our conservation burial colleagues at the Conservation Burial Alliance (CBA). Thank you to the CBA for producing such a moving and introspective tribute to conservation cemeteries. We were not able to record the event, however, you can view the video directly at the CBA website.

Also we would like to thank our dear friends and consultants on the Valley Conservation Cemetery (VCC) project, Heidi Hannapel and Jeff Masten of Land Matters and congratulate them on their newly created Bluestem Conservation Cemetery in North Carolina. Heidi and Jeff (self-proclaimed land trusters) introduced the video and answered many of your questions.


A Follow-up to Deeply Rooted

Building Community Through Conservation Burial

We've selected a few of the questions and answers to include in this newsletter. To read all the questions and answers, please visit Valley Conservation Cemetery.

What is a Conservation Restriction and what does it mean for a Cemetery?

A conservation restriction is a legally enforceable agreement that ensures permanent protection of specific conservation values while permitting limited land uses (e.g. forestry). In Massachusetts, all conservation restrictions are reviewed by the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs under the Division of Conservation Services (DCS). They must also receive local approvals from Select Boards and Conservation Commissions. For more details visit: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/conservation-restriction-review-program.

The partnership between Green Burial Massachusetts and Kestrel Land Trust will show Kestrel Land Trust holds a permanent conservation restriction that guarantees the cemetery property will never be developed (built upon) and it ensures the owner of the cemetery (Green Burial Massachusetts Cemetery, Inc.) will uphold land conservation values as specified by the conservation restriction.

How will the sales revenue be used? Will it be used to buy land or pay for restoration and management?

In Massachusetts, sales of burial plots will be used for cemetery operations and funding a cemetery endowment. The use of these funds is restricted per Massachusetts General Law Chapter 114 Section 5 With every sale, the Valley Conservation Cemetery (VCC) plans to request an optional donation that will seed future land conservation within the Connecticut River Valley.

One of the featured Conservation Cemeteries in North Carolina seemed to have lots of streams and wetlands on the parcel. What are the hydrological requirements for a green burial ground?

Water is one of the key features that adds to the beauty and restorative powers of place, and it is a vital resource for human health. Siting a cemetery to protect private and public water supplies is the first requirement. Consequently, approval for a new cemetery, requires approvals from the MA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the local board of health, conservation commissions and depending upon the town Select, Planning and Zoning Boards.

Additionally, adhering to and exceeding the setback requirements according to Massachusetts Wetlands Protections Act is of paramount importance when creating a cemetery both for the beauty of the land and to ensure the successful decomposition of the human body.

For more about Carolina Memorial Sanctuary (featured in the video) and the wetlands restoration visit: https://conservingcarolina.org/new-life-in-the-cemetery/.

How can people watching help locate suitable land to consider for a conservation cemetery?

If you or someone you know is considering selling, let us know. We have been searching long enough to know that not all these characteristics may be found on one property. Several parcels may be combined to achieve the 50 – 100 contiguous acres we are seeking and only a smaller percentage of those will be suitable for burial.

Specifically, we are seeking a mix of fields and forest, adjacency to conserved land, wildlife connectivity, native habitat protection, and/or with cultural significance and inspiring views.

This Valley Conservation Cemetery vision is shared by so many of us. Let’s create it. Thank you for your help.

GREEN BURIAL MASSACHUSETTS

Judith Lorei and Candace Currie
info@greenburialma.org or call (617) 393-5011

KESTREL LAND TRUST

Kristin DeBoer, Executive Director
kristin@kestreltrust.org or call (413) 549-1097

Posted: to News from GBM on Sun, Mar 6, 2022
Updated: Sun, Mar 6, 2022