Lehigh Valley's First Green Cemetery to Open Near Fountain Hill
The Board of Fountain Hill Cemetery has announced the official opening of Green Meadow, the first and only green cemetery in the greater Lehigh Valley and one of just six in Pennsylvania.
An opening event will take place at Fountain Hill Cemetery, on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, at 12:15 p.m. The cemetery is located at 1121 Graham St., in Salisbury Township, on the Fountain Hill border.
Situated within historic Fountain Hill Cemetery, Green Meadow is a quarter-acre natural burial ground of native wild flowers and grasses where the deceased are given green – or natural – burials. Unembalmed bodies are returned to the earth in vaultless graves and in caskets made from readily biodegradable materials, like pine, wicker, or cardboard. Graves are marked with indigenous fieldstones that are laid flush to the ground.
The purpose is to allow remains to degrade naturally, rejoin the elements, and become part of the natural cycle of life.
“We are pleased to offer families an opportunity to lay their loved ones to rest in a natural, green manner,” says Ed Vogrins, president of the Board of the Fountain Hill Cemetery. “And with the meadow in full bloom and the woods rising behind it, Green Meadow couldn’t be a more beautiful place to do it.”
In planning and designing this first phase of Green Meadow, the Board consulted with Mark Harris, a Bethlehem resident and author of the signature book on green burial, Grave Matters (www.gravematters.us).
“Green Meadow joins a green burial movement that’s changing modern funeral practices across the country,” says Harris. “Now Lehigh Valley families have a local cemetery where burials can be greener, simpler and more celebratory affairs.”
The opening event will include brief remarks by Vogrins and Harris, and acknowledge the involvement of community members, including Moravian College and Spillman-Farmer Architects. Local cyclist and Spillman-Farmer architect, Pat Ytsma, was buried at Green Meadow in December 2011, the cemetery’s first green burial.
Green Meadow joins Philadelphia’s West Laurel Hill and the Pittsburgh-region’s Penn Forest in bringing green burial to Pennsylvania.
A web page is under construction: www.greenmeadowpa.org