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New Conservation Cemetery Preserves Prairie Land in Southeast Texas

Houston area locals that are interested in natural burial will want to know about the new conservation cemetery opening in the Katy Prairie. Read more.
First Conservation Cemetery in Texas Opens for Burial
First Conservation Cemetery in Texas Opens for Burial

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Houston is one of the Texas metros that has been rapidly growing in recent decades. Even in more distant suburban areas like Waller County there’s been significant growth that is having an ecological impact. 

There are many unique environments in the Houston metro that are home to plants and wildlife that get displaced or destroyed with each housing complex. And there are a lot of housing complexes and subdivisions in the works.

The Coastal Prairie Conservancy is taking steps to preserve the state’s unique prairie land outside of Houston by turning a portion of it into a conservation cemetery. The cemetery, Nature’s Burial, is set to open in the summer of 2024. It joins a select number of other green cemeteries in Texas that are designed specifically for natural burial

What is a Conservation Cemetery?

First, let’s define what a conservation cemetery is and why it’s different from a conventional cemetery and even green cemeteries. Conservation cemetery is a special designation given to cemeteries that not only offer natural burial but work to preserve the land. 

Conservation cemeteries are often projects associated with local conservation groups that work to secure land that is reserved for limited uses and very tightly regulated so that internment does not negatively impact the surrounding ecosystems. 

The biggest difference between a conservation cemetery and green cemeteries that reserve space for natural burials is that the land is protected. There are conservation easements and land trusts in place that ensure use is limited to only activities that won’t alter the environment. 

Nature’s Burial Becomes the First Conservation Cemetery in Texas

Nature’s Burial is set to be the first conservation cemetery in the state of Texas. The cemetery has received certification from the Green Burial Council identifying it as one of the few conservation cemeteries in the country. 

One of the primary objectives of the Nature’s Burial project is to aid the growth of grasslands as well as wildflowers that are native to the area. In doing so, the Coastal Prairie Conservancy hopes that Nature’s Burial can become a sanctuary for pollinators like bees, butterflies and wetland birds. 

Only natural burials that forgo the use of embalming fluids will be allowed at Nature’s Burial. The deceased can be placed in a cloth shroud made of natural fibers, wicker basket or plain pine casket that is biodegradable. And instead of using headstones, the cemetery will use GPS tracking to mark gravesites. After the burial, native flowers, grasses and trees will be planted over the grave. If you or a loved one wants to have their remains nurture new life, Nature’s Burial is a fantastic option. 

But the conservancy is keeping in mind that the cemetery will serve as a final resting place that family members may want to visit. There are plans to add nature paths and walking trails throughout Nature’s Burial. In addition a communal gathering space is being created so that families can hold funeral services prior to burial. 

Given that local officials expect the population in the immediate area to double over the next 10 years, having more death care options is a true benefit. Nature’s Burial will start with a 10-acre cemetery. Eventually it will expand to 250 acres that can accommodate 8,000 natural burials and the burial of cremated remains. 

While Nature’s Burial will be the first certified conservation cemetery in Texas, there are several green cemeteries in Texas that have been offering space for natural burials. They include:

Leadership at the Coastal Prairie Conservancy look at death as a way to give back to the environment and help it heal. Allowing natural burials also helps make sure that the land isn’t used for another purpose, which is extremely important now that just 1% of Texas’ grasslands are left. As pressures from a growing population and development give rise to ecological concerns, it’s good to know that at least thousands of acres are now protected with the help of those that choose natural burial. 

Why Conservation Cemeteries in Texas Are a Good Sign

For anyone who cares about death care freedom like we do, the addition of a new conservation cemetery in Texas is a great sign that things are headed in the right direction. What we want to see is more options in death care. We want every individual and every family to get the funeral services they truly want. 

The environmental impact is another issue. At Cremation.Green we’ve been at the forefront of eco-friendly funeral services because we identified the need for them many years ago, and we weren’t afraid to do things differently. We think Texas is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and we want to keep it that way. While conventional burials generate 250 pounds of carbon, a natural burial only leads to 25 pounds of carbon generation. 

Some in the Texas legislation are fighting to maintain the status quo for death care in Texas. As the industry evolves and other states expand options using new technology, our state gets left further behind. But groups like the Coastal Prairie Conservatory are providing creative solutions that not only make eco-friendly disposition possible but also preserve land as well. Let’s all continue to support their efforts and the efforts of organizations like them!

We’re excited to see another eco-friendly option in the Texas death care industry, especially the first-ever conservation cemetery. It’s a huge plus for our Houston-area families that prefer natural burial.

Picture of Marlaena Gonzales

Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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