Westminster, SC, December 20, 2006 -- South Carolina-based Ramsey Creek Memorial Nature Preserve has become the first “conservation burial ground” to be certified by the Green Burial Council (GBC). It is also the first to involve a land trust. Upstate Forever will enforce a conservation easement on the property to ensure the cemetery will be protected in perpetuity as a natural area.
“Ramsey Creek set the standard for how a green cemetery ought to operate and it is only fitting that it be the first facility certified by the Green Burial Council,” said Joe Sehee, Executive Director of the GBC. “We hope it’s a model for how burial grounds can be used to facilitate ecological restoration and landscape-level conservation.” The nonprofit organization’s standards can be viewed at www.greenburialcouncil.org .
Through an arrangement with Upstate Forever and the GBC, which mandates transparency and accountability on the part of Ramsey Creek’s operators, the cemetery agrees to limit the density of burials, as well as ban the use of toxins and materials that are not biodegradable. It requires that markers be living or ecologically functional and appropriate for their surroundings. The cemetery also encourages the propagation of native plants and restricts burial in sensitive areas such as flood plains. In addition, Ramsey Creek will adhere to a set to consumer friendly protocols.
Already protecting a quarter mile of river front property along the Ramsey Creek that is home to more than 220 species of plants, the cemetery hopes to eventually save another half mile of the stream.
Ramsey Creek was founded in 1998 by Dr. Billy Campbell, who is widely credited with having evolved the science behind green burial so that it can be used as a means of restoring and protecting ecosystems. Campbell is also President of Memorial Ecosystems Inc,, a socially responsible company that develops and operates green cemeteries. Information on Ramsey Creek and Memorial Ecosystems can be found at www.memorialecosystems.com
“Green burial is such a creative and effective tool to finance the restoration and protection of land and Ramsey Creek has set the stage for future projects across the country.” said Jacqueline Oliver, land protection specialist at Upstate Forever; an eight year old land trust that has protected more than 7,000 acres throughout South Carolina. “We are honored to play a role in such an important and exciting endeavor.”