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February 2024: Thaws and Freezes



February brought some much needed sun to the Roxbury hills. We did two burials this month despite the challenges of this odd winter, and so far in 2024 we have doubled the acreage of burial areas we can access. We’ve arranged for a small office space to be brought in after "mud season" and have started building a barn for our equipment. As of today, we have done nine burials and sold over 30 deeds to Graveholders.


2024 is a leap year, and we're encouraging everyone to treat Leap Day as “Review Your Advance Directive" day. Your advance directive is meant to be a living document that reflects your ethics and values for living and dying well, so it should be something you review on a regular basis. If you haven’t written one yet, make 2/29 your day to start one! If you already have an advance directive, take it out and read it over.


To be consistent with natural burial, you should make sure your advance directive appoints an agent of disposition in addition to a health care agent. Do you state what your disposition wishes are? Are your plans for dying consistent with your wishes for a natural burial?


If you want to learn more about advance directives or get support writing one, reach out to me through our for-profit business, Green Mountain Funeral Alternatives. As an advance care planner, death doula, and funeral director, I work with people to plan for natural burial. And a personal tour of Vermont Forest Cemetery can be included as a part of the process.


 

Ways You Can Support Vermont Forest Cemetery


Help us improve our website!

Our cemetery.eco website is our primary way to communicate with the public. We know there is a lot of information there and want to make it as easy as possible for folks to navigate. We now have a professional web designer, and she is looking for 15-20 people to serve as “usability testers” that will help us improve the functionality of our website. Volunteers do not need to have any experience with website user testing. All you need is an Internet connection and a computer with Zoom capabilities.

You will simply be asked to share your screen while performing a series of tasks to find information on our website and sharing your first impressions and opinion of the experience out loud. We are looking for a range of web browsing experience and computer abilities, and specifically want to make sure that our website works for people who don't consider themselves "tech-savvy..." so if this is you, please consider helping us out.


Help us promote From Earth to Earth!

This is a work-in-progress documentary which features Vermont Forest Cemetery and is now expanded to a 20-minute cut. We'd like to bring this film to your community and start conversations about natural burial as a conservation tool in the state. If you would like to help us arrange a screening, please let us know.


Check out this important documentary!

I have always believed that community conversation is the most powerful form of advocacy. Filmmaker Bess O’Brien’s documentaries highlighting issues in Vermont have led to changes in legislation and increased social consciousness. Her newest documentary, Just Getting By, focuses on food and income insecurity. She is touring the state with it for the next 6 weeks. Please consider attending: you can find the tour dates on her website.


Just a reminder that there is now an Accessible Burial Area close to the Cemetery Lane and serviced by a wide, level trail. When weather conditions make accessing the whole cemetery difficult or unsafe, we now have the option of doing burials in this area.


Want to help?

The current fundraising focus for Vermont Forest Cemetery is on bringing in a composting toilet, electrical power, and satellite internet, as well as continuing to improve the road and the trails. Your tax-deductible donation can help! (https://www.cemetery.eco/support)


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