Officials from broke ground in a new way last week as the construction of an open-air shelter for its natural burial area is beginning.
The ceremony was held in the cemetery where the shelter will be constructed.
From the official news release:
The committal area, as it is being referred, will serve as a place where memorialization of those buried will occur. It will also be where families and clergy can hold funeral services. The development of the natural burial area and its 12-acre wild grass and flower prairie began in 2010.
The cemetery worked with landscape design architect New Eden Landscape Architecture, LLC., while construction is being handled by Burkhardt Construction of Butler, WI
The new committal area, surrounded by a natural prairie, will be an open-air structure, and complement its prairie setting. The structure will have a roof, partial walls for protection and have seating for 30 or more, so families may hold a service prior to the earthen burial. The area will also serve as a reflections area for visitors. Rental of the facility to the public is also foreseen.
Cenotaphs (large monuments) will be located within this area and hold names of individuals that are buried in the prairie. The cemetery will also offer other options for memorialization.
Prairie Home Cemetery offers natural burial as an alternative means to traditional burial. Both full-size natural burial and burial of cremated remains are allowed in the prairie. Natural burial practices are environmentally friendlier and truly fulfill the notion of “earth to earth, ashes to ashes and dust to dust.” Savings are possible because individuals do not incur traditional costs associated with embalming and purchasing standard caskets, burial vaults or headstones.
There have been three natural burials in the cemetery, according to Cemetery Manager David Brenner.