Learn about Casper Creek Natural Cemetery.
The mission of the Casper Creek Natural Cemetery, Inc., is to deliver caring and respectful conservation burial services of the highest quality to individuals and families while at all times preserving and protecting the Conservation Values of the Cemetery Burial Grounds and of areas surrounding in cooperation and partnership with the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation, Inc.
WHAT IS NATURAL BURIAL?
Natural burial, also called green burial, is the way many of our ancestors buried their dead in this country and around the world. There are three standards that define a natural burial in this country today: there can be no embalming, no vaults, and all burial containers or shrouds must be biodegradable. It is the choice consistent with the desire to limit one’s impact on the environment.
WHAT IS CONSERVATION BURIAL?
Conservation burial is natural burial that goes a step further to conserve land. A Conservation Burial Ground like Casper Creek Natural Cemetery directs its profits to land acquisition, land protection, land restoration, and land management. The burial area also becomes hallowed ground, restored to its natural condition and protected forever with a conservation easement. Native plants beautify the burial sites.
As an alternative to a traditional cemetery, or burial on unprotected land or water, those who support land conservation are offered a more meaningful burial option with the certainty that protected land is the ultimate legacy to leave for future generations. Families and friends are brought closer to nature in the commemoration of their loved one’s life. The Green Burial Council offers certifications for organizations offering green burial related services. Find more information on http://greenburialcouncil.org.
IS IT LEGAL?
It is legal in all 50 states.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE CHOOSE GREEN BURIAL OVER CONVENTIONAL BURIAL, CREMATION, OR OTHER METHOD?
As people look for more eco-friendly, affordable, and personally meaningful ways to do just about everything, green burial and the natural processes leading up to disposition, mirrors for many the way in which they strived to live their lives – environmentally responsible and in harmony with nature. For some, green burial represents the closing of the circle between birth and death by being buried without any encumbrances or impediments, signaling a return to the simpler burial practices that are practiced by peoples all over the world. In many industrialized nations these practices were interrupted over 150 years ago. But today, one of the major reasons people are drawn to green burial is its roots in tradition.
WHO CAN BE BURIED HERE?
Burial at Casper Creek Natural Cemetery is available to all people, regardless of race, creed, color, religious beliefs, national origin, gender, or political affiliation. We do burials for all human bodies and cremated remains.
WHAT DIFFERENTIATES CONSERVATION BURIAL CEMETERIES FROM OTHER GREEN BURIAL CEMETERIES?
The primary characteristics of a conservation burial ground include minimal burial density within the cemetery, management of the land with defined conservation goals, and operation on protected land affiliated in some way with a land trust or other conservation entity.
HOW IS THE LAND PROTECTED AND CONSERVED?
In addition to being an established cemetery, Casper Creek Natural Cemetery’s land is protected by a conservation easement. Our easement is a contractual document with the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation. The easement prescribes how the land is to be managed and it protects the land in its natural state in perpetuity. The cemetery is further protected by its proximity to the Casper Bluff Land & Water Reserve.
CAN FAMILIES HAVE A PRIVATE VIEWING?
Some funeral homes’ policies require embalming before friends and family are permitted to view the body, there are no laws that require a body must be embalmed. The funeral directors will guide you on their policies. Refrigeration and dry ice are methods of temporary preservation that some funeral homes may allow.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO BURY MY LOVED ONE?
In accordance with the Illinois Statutes human bodies must be buried, embalmed, or refrigerated within 24 hours after death. Once under refrigeration, there is no rush for burial to occur. Burials at Casper Creek Natural Cemetery typically occur days or even weeks after death. Your funeral home can guide you in these matters.
WILL CASPER CREEK CEMETERY TRANSPORT MY LOVED ONE?
No. Casper Creek Natural Cemetery is governed by laws of the State of Illinois which make it illegal for cemeteries to provide transportation of the deceased. However the law does provide for transportation by funeral homes. We will work with any funeral home.
CAN I USE A CASKET & WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
Yes. Any biodegradable burial product is appropriate for natural burials. Some people use unfinished wood caskets, some use wicker or woven caskets, and some people use a natural cloth shroud. A shroud is just a piece of fabric that is used to wrap a body. People often use family quilts, heirloom blankets, or cotton sheets. The shroud must be made of a natural and biodegradable material like cotton, linen, or wool.
If you are planning on building a casket or purchasing one, please contact Casper Creek Natural Cemetery staff prior to ensure the materials and dimensions are appropriate.
WHAT CAN I LEAVE ON MY LOVED ONE’S GRAVE AFTER THE SERVICE?
Services participants may decorate the grave site with biodegradable elements such as cut flowers and leaves. No plastic wrap, non-biodegradable elements or vases may be left on the grave.
WHAT IF I HAVE A MEDICAL PROSTHESIS OR MEDICAL DEVICE? WILL IT HAVE TO BE REMOVED?
While we want as little non-biodegradable material buried as possible, it is not practical or ecologically important to remove such things as dental fillings, heart valves, hips, knees, etc. If you have concerns about this, you can contact us for further information.
HOW CAN YOU KEEP TRACK OF WHERE PEOPLE ARE BURIED? WILL PEOPLE BE ABLE TO FIND FAMILY BURIAL SITES?
At Casper Creek Natural Cemetery, all our data is stored in a system which makes finding graves easy. Names and related information is carefully entered so that it is archived electronically and on paper. Contact the Casper Creek Natural Cemetery office at 815-677-3411 or web site at www.caspernaturalcemetery.com if you need more information, a map or plan to visit.
CAN I PLANT A LIVING MEMORIAL?
No Living Memorials are not permitted at Casper Creek Natural Cemetery.
MAY WE BURY TWO PEOPLE IN THE SAME GRAVE SPACE? WOULDN’T THAT HELP KEEP THE IMPACTS (AND COSTS) LOW?
Casper Creek Natural Cemetery allows one full body and one ash interment (urn) or scattering in a single grave provided they are interred at the same time. Two ash interments (urns) can occur in separate halves of a single grave site when they are interred at the same time. Also the same grave site can be used at different times for ash interments (urns) by using half a grave space at a time. Because the bodies in most situations will break down very rapidly, it would be technically difficult to re-dig a grave. Also, we have developed techniques that integrate ecological restoration with the ground disturbance of burial. In some cases, the gravesite of a loved one who died a few years earlier will be one of the most diverse and sensitive spots in the vicinity. We would not want to put that effort at risk. The whole idea is that each burial protects and lovingly restores a specific spot. Burial is not a waste of land; it protects and restores the land. Some options might be less expensive, but not as good for the environment.
HOW ARE GRAVES MARKED?
Graves can be numbered and recorded in the Casper Creek Natural Cemetery System. At the gravesite, graves can be marked with a Memorial Stone approved by Casper Creek Natural Cemetery and depending on the location of the gravesite, will be placed in the mowed walkway at the head (or foot) of the gravesite. Stones must measure 12” x18” x 4” and will be placed slightly below grade according to Casper Creek Natural Cemetery Standards. Memorial Stones may not be polished. Stones may be engraved (with prior approval of Casper Creek Natural Cemetery) but must remain simple in appearance and photographs, electronics, sound, etc., are not permitted.
CAN CREMATED REMAINS BE BURIED OR SCATTERED?
Yes. Casper Creek Natural Cemetery’s standards provide for cremated remains for either burial in a biodegradable urn in a gravesite or scattering in the designated scattering area.
DO ANIMALS DISTURB SITES?
No, animals do not disturb or attempt to dig up sites. Graves are dug to a sufficient depth to prevent this.
WHAT ARE THE LARGE STONE STRUCTURES SEEN AT THE CEMETERY?
These monolithic structures, composed of limestone, are a modern depiction of the sentinel, a guard who stands silent watch without end. Serenely immoveable, they reflect compassion and respect.
DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION NOT ANSWERED HERE? Visit our website at caspernaturalcemetery.com, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 815-677-3411 or can also review our Rules and Regulations, here.