Every day across North America alone, 6,000 plus acres of open space are leveled in an ever widening and endless swath of highways and airports, condos, malls, and factories. While the costs of purchasing, restoring, monitoring, and preserving land keeps steadily climbing, millions of acres of natural beauty are lost. Glendale Memorial Nature Preserve, however, is an enclave of escape from that trend.

Each year, 22,500 cemeteries across the United States bury approximately:
• Embalming fluid: 827,060 gallons, which includes formaldehyde
• Caskets: 90,272 tons of steel, 2,700 tons of copper and bronze, 30-plus million board feet of hardwoods
• Vaults: 1,636,000 tons of reinforced concrete, 14,000 tons of steel
(Compiled from statistics by Casket and Funeral Association of America, Cremation Association of North America, Doric Inc., The Rainforest Action  Network, and Mary Woodsen, Pre-Posthumous Society)

Many people wish for a return to sanity and simplicity regarding death and burial. Current burial practices, however, often leave them believing that cremation is their best and only option to achieve this. We think people should have both options: a simple (and affordable) burial, or cremation.

A typical, no-frills “modern” burial in the United States costs from 6,000 to 10,000 dollars and includes the environmentally damaging factors listed in the box above. An old-fashioned, traditional burial can cost a mere fraction of that but includes the priceless benefits of peace-of-mind and the knowledge that you or your family, not a corporation pretending to be family, are the directors. Download “Green Burials & Home Funerals” here: greenburialsandhomefunerals.pdf

Reclaim the right and tradition to bury your own!

TRADITIONAL – for thousands of years:

  • DIY: Direct burial by you, the family.
  • Simple shroud, blanket, or locally made caskets OK.
  • Ecologically sound and inexpensive interment.
  • Room for everyone, including your pets.
  • Simple rules which are pleasant to follow.

NON-TRADITIONAL – the last 50 plus years:

  • Burial by a for-profit corporation.
  • Your loved one is injected with expensive, toxic chemicals
  • Expensive caskets and useless concrete vaults usually required.
  • Multiple, side-by-side plots but no room for your pets.

Is a licensed director or funeral home required by law?
     No. The body belongs to the next of kin. It is often falsely assumed that the services of a licensed funeral home or director are required by law to move a body from the place of death, to notify the proper authorities, and to finally bury the body. On some occasions, where hospital and nursing home staff are rewarded for telephoning a particular funeral home at the time of death, the person in charge may have to be reminded that it is legal for a family member “or other person” “who first assumes custody of or effects the final disposition of a dead body” to take charge of the proceedings. It should be noted, however, that this person or family member must follow the same Florida statutes and procedures required of licensed funeral directors.

What is the first required step for a family member taking charge?
     If it is a sudden or accidental death occurring at home, the local police should be notified to ensure no foul play was involved. Once convinced, the officer will then contact the Medical Examiner’s Office. In the case of a natural death a doctor will be needed to examine the body and sign a death certificate, in which case the Medical Examiner’s Office will usually decline jurisdiction of the body. If the patient has been under the regular care of a physician licensed in the State of Florida, and the physician states that he/she will sign the death certificate, and no foul play is suspected, then the death can also be reported to the Medical Examiner’s Office via an “Attended Death Report”. Be sure to make certified copies of the death certificate for later use by insurance companies, banks, the local clerk of the court, and the like.

What if the person dies on the way to the ER or at the hospital or nursing home?
     This makes obtaining a death certificate easier, but requires a transit permit from your local Office of Vital Statistics for the body to be moved back home or to the burial ground. Once this is obtained, and the Medical Examiner’s Office has declined jurisdiction, the body must be released back to the family on request. Resist any pressure from funeral home representatives, if present, to release the body to them. If an offer is made to transport the body for you, the point-to-point cost of that transportation – in writing – should be obtained before accepting. A family member’s personal van, large SUV, or pickup truck are all perfectly normal means for transport at a savings which can be thousands of dollars.

What will the Office of Vital Statistics need to know?
     a. The decedent’s name, date of death, and location of death.
b. The family member’s name, address, phone number, and
relationship to the decedent. The registrar may also advise you of any other information required. CLICK HERE for details.

What if the body is to be cremated?
     This must be reported to the Medical Examiner’s Office and so noted on the death certificate. Additional death certificate information and a “Cremation Approval Form” may be required to adequately explain a non-traumatic (i.e. non-medical examiner) cause of death

What if the deceased has been under licensed Hospice care?
     The Hospice contact has the legal authority to bypass the police and medical examiner requirements.

How soon does someone have to go into the ground, especially in Florida during the summer? What does the law say?
     The body must be “buried, embalmed, OR refrigerated” within or immediately after 24 hours of death. Refrigeration is a way of keeping the body below 40 degrees F. Most funeral homes have coolers. Refrigeration is also done with dry ice, and often with gel packs, regular ice (in bags to keep the water from making a mess as it melts), or simply by turning the AC (home or auto) to the coldest setting.

Can family members perform a graveside funeral at Glendale Memorial Nature Preserve?
Yes. Our experience so far  –  a graveside burial without professional or commercial help – has been beautiful, and the feedback was positive.

Is this what is meant by the term “traditional burial”?
Yes. A traditional burial is one performed by family members and friends, as opposed to the hiring of for-profit businessmen to handle the details. Current burial practices involving the funeral home business are relatively new. The traditional burial goes back thousands of years to the present day. Because a traditional burial does not generate any profit, however, there is no massive marketing strategy to keep it in the public eye.

Are there additional social or legal concerns?
a.   It is always best for family members to determine what the decedent’s wishes are in advance, if possible, and then to get together with a plan beforehand. This will lessen the need to make decisions during a time of emotional stress.  If a traditional burial at Glendale Memorial Nature Preserve is planned, printed copies of this webpage could also help at time of need, especially when confronted with persons or officials who need to know you are aware of your legal rights.
b . An obituary may be sent to the press if desired.
c.  The Social Security Administration should be notified by telephone, and any checks received during the month following the death must be returned.

Are there any situations where a funeral home or director can legally make claim to a body despite the wishes of family members?
     No. Only when the county or state has contracted with a business for the handling of unclaimed bodies, where next of kin cannot be found and notified, is this legal.

Can I bury my pet at Glendale Memorial Nature Preserve?
Yes, pets are welcome. – Loyal in life, together forever.

Friends commonly show photos of a pet, a most cherished animal companion, with its human counterpart. Pets can become a very important part of our lives, whether we are rich or poor, young or old. They give us so much unconditional love and affection, and all they ask in return is our attention and affection. Someday, however, we have to say that final “good-bye”. The grief can be overwhelming, and when that time comes when we must let go, we are faced with the dilemma of what to do with our beloved animal friend. Glendale Memorial Nature Preserve is aware of the importance of the proper burial of beloved pets as a means for honoring animals who endeared themselves to their human families. Such burials also signify one’s kinship with the natural world in general.

Here at the preserve, when you are assigned a family plot, pet burials in the same plot are guaranteed and welcomed. Assistance with the burial is available at very little cost. Stock or made-to-order caskets are also available but not required.

Historically the ritual burial of beloved animals goes back to pre-history, although none may be more famous than the funeral procession and burial of Alexander the Great’s beloved dog of many years, “Peritas”. Alexander even named a city after the animal, which can be found to this day in that location. There are alternatives to pet burial. Cremation is one but it is expensive and, for many, not as satisfying as a whole body burial in the same piece of ground where the pet’s human counterpart(s) will one day lie. Freeze drying is another, even more expensive option, and leaves in question the eventual disposal of that taxidermal-like artifact after the pet’s human companion and protector is one day laid to rest. Traditional burial, however, remains the most problem free.