Eloise Woods

Community Natural Burial Park

Green-Leaves

Contact

Eloise Woods Community Burial Park is located at 115 Northside Lane, Cedar Creek, Texas 78612. 

Ellen Macdonald, Owner/Queen
Ellie's Green Burials LLC                        
(512) 796-5240
ellen@eloisewoods.com

NOTE: 115 Northside Lane in Cedar Creek is the physical address of the burial park. There is no mail box there. The mailing address of Ellie's Green Burials LLC is: 3404 Shinoak Drive, Austin TX 78731. Please don't drive here if you are headed to the burial park!

    
Dog angel! How could I resist?                           Dove Release ceremony - everyone touches       Digging a grave for a beloved cat

DIRECTIONS TO ELOISE WOODS  Follow these! Your GPS will take you to the wrong gate.

Trees, Flora & Fauna at Eloise Woods

    

A wooden casket ready for covering                  Pebbles for gravestones in our Jewish section--    Gotta have a sense of humor

About Us

Eloise Woods Community Natural Burial Park was established in the fall of 2010 and is privately owned by Ellie's Green Burials, LLC. Ellen Macdonald owns and manages the park. Ellen would like to share her vision of a beautiful woodland burial ground with others in the Austin Community.  She named the park after her grandmother, Eloise Brown Sutin.

    

About Cedar Creek, Texas

In 1832, Addison and Mary Owen Litton and others settled the area. In 1842, the Methodist church became an important part of the community. Other churches followed, including a Presbyterian church in 1855. In 1852, a post office opened. In the 1883, a teacher-training school opened. By the late 1880s, the population dropped to 250. From the 1910s through the 1940s, oil played a part of the local economy and the population reached 300. In 2000, the population was 200. A notable resident of Cedar Creek was Amanda Roberts Jones, the daughter of a slave who died at the age of 110. She gained national attention by casting a vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 United States Presidential Election.

Photographs: All photographs on this site were taken at Eloise Woods.

BEING GREEN

The Center for Natural Burial offers a clear definition of a natural burial. Below is an excerpt of their explanation:

Natural Burial is Simple and Meaningful

A modern natural burial is an environmentally sustainable alternative to existing funeral practices where the body is returned to the earth to decompose naturally and be recycled into new life. The body is prepared for burial without chemical preservatives and is buried in a simple shroud or biodegradable casket that might be made from locally harvested wood, wicker or even recycled paper, perhaps even decorated with good-bye messages from friends. A natural burial ground often uses grave markers that don’t intrude on the landscape. These natural markers can include shrubs and trees, an engraved flat stone native to the area or centralized memorial structure set within the emerging forest that provides places for visitors to sit. As in all cemeteries, there are careful records kept of the exact location of each interment. These sacred and natural places leave a legacy of care and respect for our planet. Irrigation is not used, nor are pesticides and herbicides applied; instead, a natural burial preserve protects and restores nature while establishing a place where family and friends can visit and be at peace. Natural burial is a statement of personal values for many people who seek to minimize their impact on the planet. For people who are mindful of the cyclical nature of life, natural burial is a spiritually fulfilling alternative to the conventional funeral.

There's an entirely different aspect of being green as well. This perspective is seeing the natural burial cemetery as an emotional landscape. Dr. Hannah Rumble states it eloquently: "A natural burial site is not only a physical landscape but also an emotional landscape, in which emotions and memory are socio-spatially articulated through ‘nature’. As the seasons change, so does the appearance of a natural burial ground and therefore the emotional responses of visitors. I also argue that the dead are not necessarily given sovereign status in natural burial grounds – a feature that distinguishes them from other places of burial – but rather, it is the ‘natural’ world that becomes a feature at these burial grounds. This factor creates a therapeutic landscape for the bereaved that is having an impact upon funerary and grave visiting behaviour by becoming more informal and idiosyncratic. My research shows however, that whilst the dead may not be granted sovereign status in a natural burial ground, they very rarely become anonymous. Bereaved visitors to natural burial grounds have many unobserved strategies for preserving the identity and location of the deceased, as the thesis documents." For her complete thesis on natural burial cemeteries, visit: http://drhannahrumble.com/

In our efforts to be as green as possible, our web pages are hosted by Green Geeks, which is an eco-friendly web hosting provider.

MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of Eloise Woods is to provide natural burials in harmony with nature. We hope to meet the high standards for conservation burial as set forth by the Green Burial Council. At Eloise Woods burials will only be permitted in areas where burial will not degrade the land. Some areas of the preserve will be “off limits” and some areas may only be suitable for cremated remains. The decision will be based on what is best for the ecological restoration of the preserve. The goal of the cemetery is to provide the community with options relating to end of life issues that could save of time, money and grief, yet give more control, more choices and a more meaningful experience. Eloise Woods will provide an economical, environmentally friendly alternative to modern burial as fewer resources are used in natural burial. As a nature preserve, we will provide wildlife habitat, a clean watershed, and clean air. Our walking trails will allow the community to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the preserve. Eloise Woods will offer an economical alternative to a modern burial. Infants will be buried for free, we will use a sliding scale for those with financial need, and indigents as contracted with surrounding counties. Our cemetery will allow one to be part of a natural cycle.

    

SHORT HISTORY OF GREEN FUNERAL MOVEMENT

What is old is often new again. Green burial is not a brand new idea, it’s just an idea that got lost and has now been found again. More often, Americans are choosing to do it themselves when it comes to burying loved ones and easing their own grief.

Far from being a radical innovation, however, keeping funeral rites in the family or among friends is exactly how death was handled in our country until the late nineteenth century. How did these concepts of family funerals and natural burial get lost? What brought us to our current system of handing over our dead to complete strangers?

It was the Civil War and the great slaughter of soldiers on far-flung battlefields that interrupted the American custom of home funerals. Until then, caring for and preparing the dead for burial on family farms or in local cemeteries was both a domestic skill and a family responsibility.

When facing the trauma of the Civil War, American communities wanted to bring their dead home to remember and honor them. That created the need to preserve the body for shipment and a demand for repairing or disguising the mutilations of war as much as possible. From that grew a new profession: the undertaker. Called thus, not because they’re putting someone 6 feet under but because someone else, who you could pay, would “undertake” the work and responsibilities himself.

The advent of the professional undertaker marked a sharp and negative shift in American attitudes toward death. For many, the death of a loved one, always seen as a normal and natural part of life, became an alienating and frightening event. Ultimately, it became sanitized and institutionalized. Americans literally lost touch with death. Death also became more expensive. Increased reliance on morticians and funeral directors in the twentieth century evolved into a multimillion-dollar industry.

In the view of many who advocate and practice home funerals, it is an industry built at least in part by money spent on unneeded embalming procedures and heavily marketed ceremonial trappings. Today, an average funeral home memorial and interment costs an average of $8,000 or $9,000 —a burdensome expense many families feel pressured to meet in the name of honoring their dead.