The “green” movement can now include the dearly departed.

“There has been strong interest from a small segment of people who want to go back to the earth naturally,” cemetery owner Bill Bernhardt Jr. said.

Payne County commissioners gave their OK to a new cemetery concept where dead people will be buried in a biodegradable burial shroud or blanket in a meadow atmosphere.

The graves will not have traditional headstones or markings, and plots cannot be bought ahead of time. Bernhardt said a monolith will be located in front of the cemetery where family members can inscribe the names of their loved ones.

“Fifty to 100 years ago, people would simply go out in a field and bury somebody on their farm,” Bernhardt said. “It is only recently that as we became more refined that people wanted special containers and a better manicured setting.”

Bernhardt said that while the area will not be regularly mowed like traditional cemeteries, it will be maintained to create a meadow habitat. The interred will not be buried as deep as in traditional cemeteries.

Bernhardt said he is hoping to find someone to dig the graves by hand to keep machinery from disturbing the setting.

“Green burials are not for everybody,” he said. “This will allow (those who want it) to go back to nature naturally as they did 100 years ago on the prairie.”

Information for this story was provided by the The NewsPress in Stillwater.

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