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Used w/ permission: Green Burial Council
White Haven Memorial Park, Pittsford, NY


Burial Options

Choosing Green Burial

  • 1 Embalming is rarely required by law. The Federal Trade Commission and many state regulators require that funeral directors inform consumers that embalming is not required except in certain special cases. Embalming provides no public health benefit, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Refrigeration is an alternative to maintain a body while awaiting a funeral service.
  • 2 Biodegradable Caskets. Many exciting options exist when one foregoes the conventional steel and hardwood models on the showroom floor. For a green burial in a natural cemetery, a homemade wooden coffin or wicker basket can be used, or the body can simply be wrapped in a shroud, family quilt, or favorite blanket.
  • 3 Vaults or Grave Liners are not required by law. In a conventional cemetery, sealed caskets are routinely interred in steel or concrete vaults, the sole purpose of which is to prevent the sod or turf of the cemetery lawn from sinking. You roll back the sod from a modern cemetery and you’ve got a parking lot. No vaults or sealed caskets are allowed in a natural cemetery.
  • 4 Cremation is not better for the environment. Burning uses fossil fuels and releases toxic chemicals from the casket, embalming fluid (if used), mercury from dental work, and possible pollutants from other un-extracted medical devices into the atmosphere. Cremation turns a body’s natural nutrients - which the earth could use - into air pollution.
    Interest in cremation grew as conventional cemeteries spread over urban green space, but now many understand natural burial to be a more earth-friendly option and a way to preserve green space.

Why Arkansas? Arkansas, the Natural State

Living in Northwest Arkansas has given each of us the opportunity to engage in some of the most meaningful and progressive environmental programs in the country. Our community can boast a myriad of environmental achievements – – local farmers’ markets; a botanical garden; recycling and composting programs; hiking and bike trails; and a public transit system.

Many would agree that we are living the good life here in the Ozarks.


We are surrounded by magnificent natural beauty, and it seems we have manifested enough spiritual sensitivity to maintain the delicate environmental balance that sustainability, coupled with development, requires of us.

Yet something is terribly amiss in our utopia – an astounding and profound oversight. Our community has a certain and absolute need that we have neglected to address from an environmental perspective. Must our environmental considerations and well-intentioned efforts end when we die? Is there a way to echo our life’s work, our hearts’ passion with our last ‘hurrah’?

The time has come for our community to have a cemetery that reflects our continued commitment to the environmental preservation of our beloved Ozark Mountains here in the Natural State of Arkansas.

A Celebration, Here & Beyond

Business models for natural burial grounds in other areas of the country reveal the key component for success: Use the property like a public park. Their intention is to bring the public onto the grounds of the cemetery for an array of programs, events, and activities as often as possible.

Individuals would feel welcomed at any time to walk, reflect, or meditate. Families would be encouraged to have picnics, share seasonal celebrations, and attend hands-on care taking of the property. Community groups would frequently use the cemetery for hiking, bird watching, and nature study.

An acceptance and inclusion of all the unique components of our community would be evident in the programming schedule.

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