Technology and Green Burial
by Brian Hayden
April 27, 2022

The Green Burial Masterclass is a 12-week professional development training course for anyone interested in managing a natural burial cemetery.

Lee Webster and Holly Blue Hawkins are the lead instructors. This duo is as qualified as anybody to teach to teach the course: Lee is the Director of New Hampshire Funeral Resources, Education & Advocacy.  She is emeritus President of National Home Funeral Alliance, and emeritus board member for Green Burial Council. Holly Blue is a member of the Gamliel Institude faculty and Rosha Chevra Kadisha school and runs a green burial site. She is a past board member of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of California.

Above is a short excerpt from Holly Blue’s Module 3 presentation. In this section she’s leading a discussion about the role of technology in running a green burial cemetery.

Video transcript: Holly Blue Hawkins talks about examples of technology cemetery operators might choose.

There are two and maybe even three perspectives that apply to building an appropriate technological infrastructure for your burial site: On the ground, in the office, and if you are applying tools such as drone for aerial photography or integrating GPS and GIS for mapping and site location technology, from the sky.

On the ground: This includes everything from site plan designed to monitoring soil health, gritting out a burial zone and options for marking specific grave sites as David Ponoroff from Larksburg describes. There is skillful barriers. With minimum of disruption of the location, soil and plant life, pattern, integrity, managing behavior, color, and foot traffic for burials establishing and maintaining safe walking trails for visitors.

Designing mapping and monitoring site development over the lifecycle of the cemetery. As Jack Goodnoe describes in his video, schematics for ecological assessments and permitting of the green burial cemeteries, the list goes on and on.

In the office: Think of all the administrative tools you will need.

You may manage your office with tools as simple as QuickBooks, Google Drive, a scheduler, and perhaps a project management tool such as Asana or Trello. A more sophisticated setup might include GIS mapping as a database organizer, such as Life Forest’s use of QGIS with a simple QR code, leading to everything from GPS, coordinates, locating a plot and providing information, even personal history about personal person buried there.

And from the sky: Aerial photography of a location, whether for a bird’s-eye perspective of the vicinity, for the purpose of integrating into a virtual tour of an area or giving guests the lay of the land. And there’s GPS to GIS mapping as described by Dr. Sawyer and Ronan Debuskey.