Natural Burial

Natural Burial Options


Natural, or ‘Green,’ Burial is a safe and environmentally friendly practice that allows the body to return to the soil naturally by using biodegradable materials, and avoiding vaults and toxic embalming fluids. Many cultures and faiths throughout the U.S. and around the world have always used Natural Burial. An increasingly common burial option, Natural Burial is perfectly legal and is offered in many cemeteries and memorial preserves across the country.

Conservation Burial takes this practice a step furtherweb6 by burying in a nature preserve rather than a conventional cemetery, and utilizing a portion of the burial fee to help permanently protect and maintain the natural environment. When you choose Conservation Burial, you make a positive environmental impact by securing habitat for wildlife, helping manage natural lands, or preserving habitat that is already rich in flora and fauna.

At Heartwood Preserve, the deceased is not embalmed; vaults are not used and the deceased is buried either in a biodegradable casket or wrapped in a shroud (a large cloth used to wrap the body for burial). Cremated remains are also buried in a biodegradable container. The burial is performed directly into the ground, with the remains covered and mounded over with the same soil that was removed. The site is then reseeded with the surrounding natural vegetation. The grave is marked simply with a small metal plaque and its location permanently recorded. Over time, the grave site becomes a part of the natural environment. Families may visit the site as frequently as they like, and may memorialize their loved one in a number of ecologically friendly ways.


Cremation has become the premier choice for many families over the past few decades. People choose cremation over modern conventional burial for a number of reasons, from cultural or religious tradition to practicality, simplicity, and environmental concerns. Many families possess the “ashes” (cremated remains) of a family member that have been stored in a lovely urn for many years. At some point, family members may decide it is time to lay the remains permanently to rest in the earth. Heartwood Preserve offers a beautiful setting for the burial of cremated remains.

Graveside Services

Graveside services are instrumental in bringing peace to those burying their loved ones. As these services are planned by the family—with the assistance of a funeral service provider—we encourage a graveside service that draws upon Heartwood Preserve’s unique setting to memorialize and celebrate a life. We have found that such peaceful services evoke images of renewal that put friends and family at ease.

Special Events at the Welcome Center

Our beautiful, energy efficient, sustainably built Welcome Center provides a comfortable and spacious room for a Celebration of Life, assembly area before or after a burial, and a site for other Heartwood activities such as sitting meditation, yoga, Death Cafe, workshops, and special events rental. One hour of use is included in the price for each burial, whether used just before or after the graveside service.