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Temple cemetery trustees explore going green

By MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent

January 17. 2018 11:40PM




TEMPLE — The town’s Cemetery Trustees have invited residents to a presentation about exploring green burials tonight, Thursday, at the Temple Town Hall at 7 p.m.

Temple Cemetery Trustees Maureen Cullinan said Wednesday she had not heard of green burials until the neighboring town of Wilton opened up some of its cemetery land for green burials. This led Cullinan and other cemetery trustees to attend an informational meeting in Lyndeborough, another neighboring town, which is also considering the burial practice.

“We’re interested in that option, a lot of people are interested in keeping pollutants out of the ground,” Cullinan said.

Green burials do not use embalming fluids or chemicals in preparing the body for burial nor metal, cement or plastic at burial.

The idea is to allow the body to decompose naturally by microbes in the earth. This also requires more shallow graves, since the microbes that aid in decomposition are typically in the first three feet of earth, Cullinan said, not at the depth of six feet.

In modern burials, “This whole natural process of breaking down tissues doesn’t happen,” Cullinan said, adding, “The better thing for the earth would be to let the body decompose and go on with it.”

In a green burial the body can be cremated and placed in a wooden urn for burial or the body can be simply wrapped in a cloth and buried.

Cullinan said some green burial cemeteries opt to not place stones or markers at graves and inside have a list of names at the end of each aisle. Cullinan said right now she thinks she would want to keep a headstone at each grave.

“We like the idea of the historical significance of having a stone right there,” Cullinan said of herself and the other cemetery trustees.

Cullinan said the presentation tonight is for educational purposes for the trustees and other residents.

“In our area of the state we have a lot of organic farms and people who are just really concerned about the environment,” Cullinan said, so green burials may take in Temple.

Alisha DiMasi and Sandy Lefleur of Threshhold Care, who helped Wilton establish green burials last year, will be making the presentation Thursday night at the Temple Town Hall at 7 p.m.

Cullinan said the Cemetery Trustees will continue to learn about and discuss the possibility of green burials in Temple.

“We are fortunate in that we are just in the middle of expanding our cemeteries, and we’re not out of room,” she said.

“If they decide to designate some of the town’s unused cemetery land to green burials they will discuss it at Town Meeting and ask for a floor vote,” she said.

mpierce@newstote.com


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