Services and Products
Comfort of Tradition and Harmony with Nature
Heartwood Preserve provides personalized services to ensure your wishes are fulfilled.
Each burial at Heartwood is a direct reflection of the family’s wishes or how the deceased wished to be remembered. Our trained burial crew carries the body to the grave site and places it over the grave. The family and attendees may then hold whatever service or special time at the graveside.
We provide as much comfort as we can to the family. At the grave, we provide a small tent if needed for the weather and a few chairs for guests who need seating. A small table holds tissues, hand sanitizer, bug repellent, wildflower seeds, and iced water during hot days. For large gatherings, a larger tent and chairs may be rented.
Each burial includes the use of our beautiful Welcome Center for an hour prior to or just after the burial itself. It is available at a special Heartwood Family rate to rent for longer gatherings on the burial day. Some families enjoy having the convenience of staying for a potluck or a catered celebration of life party while at Heartwood rather than driving to someone’s home or a restaurant. See us for prices of rentals longer than an hour.
Let us help you find natural ways to remember your loved ones at Heartwood Preserve. Sow Florida native wildflower seeds, select a commemorative bench or adopt a planted tree in their honor. Throw a party at our Welcome Center. Attend our Annual Day of Remembrance, the first Saturday of November. We’ll help you express your thoughts for your loved one in a way that melds with the natural beauty of the preserve without harming its ecological balance.
As a natural cemetery, we offer traditional burial without the use of vaults. For you, this means that, unlike at a conventional cemetery, you will not have to purchase a vault or grave liner. You have the option of burial with or without a casket and with or without an urn. Casket selection can be made upon approval by the cemetery, or the use of a shroud is also acceptable. All burial containers we accept should be sustainably-sourced and 100% biodegradable, in keeping with our conservation mission and goals. Most ‘green burial’ containers purchased from funeral providers are welcome, upon approval from Heartwood Preserve’s management staff. The Green Burial Council has a good list of appropriate options, although theirs are not the only options that are acceptable. Many products, such as locally made ones, meet natural burial standards but have not become certified by the GBC.
Caskets and Coffins
Natural burial caskets and coffins are available and typically purchased from your funeral provider (the Funeral Home). A casket has four sides while a coffin has six or eight sides. They can be made from wicker, bamboo, or natural wood, making them environmentally friendly and biodegradable. Many families look for products that are locally hand crafted and made from low impact, sustainably harvested materials. Contact us for more information about what to request from your funeral home.
A shroud is a ceremonial cloth used to wrap the body to be buried. This cloth is usually made from natural fibers, such as linen, cotton or hemp, and can be embellished or kept as a plain white cloth. The fabric is securely laced or wrapped around the body. Choosing a shroud provides a hands-on, deeply connective experience when grieving together and letting go. It’s an elegant and tangible way to say goodbye.
A shroud may be used with or without a casket. It’s a matter of personal choice.
There are many beautiful, earth-friendly options for holding a loved one’s ashes. Some of our Heartwood families who have buried loved ones here have used finely crafted, biodegradable urns made by local and regional artists. We have seen urns made from various woods, handmade paper wrapped boxes, or woven pine needles collected from our own longleaf pines at the Preserve. You may provide your own such urn, purchase one from your funeral provider, or pour your loved one’s ashes directly into the grave.
One of the aspects of conservation burial that makes Heartwood Preserve special is our commitment to preserving the natural beauty and ecosystems found here. In order to maintain the land as naturally as possible, we allow grave sites to blend into the surrounding beauty over time.
Each grave may be memorialized with a simple, dignified grave marker – a round or rectangular metal plaque placed at ground level on the grave which identifies the deceased by name and dates (Photo A). Cemetery personnel are happy to provide any assistance needed to locate a grave site.
We take diligent care in recording the place your loved one is buried. The location of each grave site is measured relative to permanent survey pins placed throughout the cemetery grounds and recorded with a unique numbering system in all our permanent records (Photo B). That site’s location is then placed on the burial grounds map, allowing anyone visiting in the future to find it.