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Report from Opening Day

by Jim Hogle, VFC Board member

Today marked the official opening of Vermont Forest Cemetery. We celebrated with a “Grand Opening Ceremony” at the cemetery with snacks, poetry readings from Sean Prentiss and Robyn Joy, a summary of the history of the site led by Stuart and Margaret Osha, a presentation by Jennifer Byrne from our conservation partner the White River Natural Resource Conservation District, which included soil samples from the region, and booklets featuring the history of the Abenaki people and culture and a summary of the activities of the conservation district, a display of hand woven willow caskets and urns from Mary Lauren Fraser, and of course tours of the cemetery. We were also excited to welcome a film crew of students in the film program at Ithaca College (Chess, Reed, Alyssa and Max), who are creating a documentary on death practices in general and the cemetery in specific.

The weather did not fully cooperate, with intermittent rain in the morning reducing our

expected turnout somewhat, but during the afternoon the rain lifted and we even saw some

sunshine for the afternoon presentations. Despite the rain our 30+ guests were great, enthusiastic and engaged. We all went home in the evening with our voices strained

from happy conversations with this wonderful group, and a real feeling that our efforts to build community at the cemetery are bearing fruit.

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