Green Burial in Ohio

In 1998, Billy and Kimberley Campbell created the first “green cemetery” in the United States. Now, as Ramsey Creek Preserve in South Carolina nears its 20th anniversary, there are nearly 150 such sites sprinkled across the country. Some, but not all, seek certification by the Green Burial Council.

The nearest such natural burial preserve to Cincinnati, however, is more than 150 miles away. Kokosing Nature Preserve is a former golf course – talk about bad for the environment! – that has been reclaimed and is being restored to its natural habitat. It is now legally protected to prevent future “development.” Kokosing was dedicated for burials in 2016. Prior to that, Foxfield Preserve in northern Ohio was the first natural burial ground in the state, opening in 2008.

There are no other similar preserves in Ohio* – or, for that matter, in Indiana or Kentucky. It is our mission at Heritage Acres to bring a natural burial preserve to the southwest portion of our state, to serve the entire Tri-State area.

* A handful of conventional cemeteries have begun opening “green burial” sections, but there are currently no other free-standing, dedicated natural burial preserves, unassociated with a conventional cemetery, in the Tri-State.

A note about language

We use the terms “conventional cemetery” and “conventional burial” to describe the current American custom of routine, environmentally harmful practices such as embalming, using metal caskets inside concrete vaults, using pesticides and other toxic chemicals, and intensive landscaping and grooming of cemeteries. These practices are in no way “traditional,” though you may hear others use that term erroneously to describe a conventional burial. In fact, natural or “green” burial is the true traditional human practice of caring for our dead, and for the natural world of which we are an integral part.