About Us


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 and more, people are finding comfort by getting involved 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 and among a comforting support system is how death was handled in our country until the late nineteenth century. How did these concepts of family funerals and natural burials get lost? What brought us to our current system of handing over our dead to large institutions?

It was the Civil War and the great slaughter of young 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 six feet under, but because someone else, who you could pay, would “undertake” the difficult and emotional task as a service to perform the work for you.

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.

Mission Statement

The mission of Eloise Woods is to provide natural burials in harmony with nature. We strive to meet the high standards for conservation burial as set forth by the Green Burial Council. At Eloise Woods, burials are only permitted in areas that will not degrade the land. Some areas of the preserve are “off limits” whereas other areas are suitable for cremated remains. These decisions are based on what is best for the ecological restoration of the preserve. The goal of the cemetery is to provide the community with options related to end of life issues that could save time, money, and grief, and give more control and choices to families for a more meaningful experience. Eloise Woods provides 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 allow the community to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the preserve. Eloise Woods offers an economical alternative to a modern burial. Our cemetery allows one to be part of a natural cycle.

Being Green

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

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 behavior 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: drhannahrumble.com.

In our efforts to be as green as possible, our web page is hosted by GreenGeeks.com, an eco-friendly web hosting provider.