Returning to the Earth at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary

How do you want to be buried? How do you want to return your loved ones to the Earth? Many people are looking for more natural options for death care and burial that honor our connection to the Earth, in life and in death.

Conserving Carolina is a proud supporter of Carolina Memorial Sanctuary, the first conservation burial ground in North Carolina. We hold a conservation easement on this cemetery in Mills River, ensuring that it will be protected as a beautiful, natural environment forever.

The sanctuary is an all-faiths burial ground. People and pets can be laid to rest there, through green burial, burial of cremated remains, or scattering of ashes.

These simple, natural burials are more affordabletypically one-third to one-half the cost of a standard burial. If you let Carolina Memorial Sanctuary know that you learned about them through Conserving Carolina, you will receive a discount and Conserving Carolina will receive a donation.

  • Funeral at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary
  • Grave in the woodland
  • Grave at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary
  • Caroline Yongue in Carolina Memorial Sanctuary
  • Carolina Memorial Sanctuary
  • Bridge in meadow path
  • Restored wetland at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary

What is Green or Conservation Burial?

Green burial uses environmentally friendly practices that have less impact on the natural world. Conservation burial includes green burial but goes further by forever protecting the burial ground as a healthy natural environment–so that, in our death, we preserve, protect, and renew the land.

Carolina Memorial Sanctuary is a certified conservation burial ground. At the sanctuary:

  • The land is protected forever with a conservation easement.
  • No embalming chemicals or formaldehyde are used.
  • Shrouds, caskets, or urns are made of biodegradable materials that break down underground.
  • Bodies are buried only three feet deep so plants’ roots can access the nutrients.
  • Graves are hand dug, without heavy equipment to impact plants or roll over graves.
  • Cremated remains are amended to balance the pH of the soil.
  • Native plants, trees, and flowers grow over and around the graves.
  • Loved ones may find healing by participating in the burial, in their own way.
  • Guests are always welcome to walk the trails or sit on benches, finding solace in nature.
  • A portion of all fees goes to Conserving Carolina to support further conservation.

Our Relationship with Carolina Memorial Sanctuary

Conserving Carolina worked with the sanctuary to protect the land with a conservation easement. As the easement holder, we ensure that this land will be protected forever. The 11-acre sanctuary includes a wildflower meadow, woodlands, a creek that flows into the French Broad River, and a wetland.

We also helped the sanctuary to secure grant funding for an ambitious habitat restoration project, transforming the land from an overgrown tangle of invasive plants to a beautiful home for living things. Amazingly, we were able to bring back a wetland that had been buried under 16 inches of fill dirt!

Restored wetland at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary

How to Get a Discount Through Conserving Carolina

As part of their ongoing commitment to conservation, Carolina Memorial Sanctuary donates 1% of all proceeds to Conserving Carolina. If you let them know that you heard about them through us, they triple this donation. In addition, you get a discount of 2% off the cost of a site.

A price list for sites at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary is available here.

You can simply tell them that you heard about them through us to get this discount. If you prefer, you can print this page.

Carolina Memorial Sanctuary, the first conservation burial ground in NC
Carolina Memorial Sanctuary offers burial sites in a wildflower meadow, a woodland, or creekside. 

See the Sanctuary

Visit the Carolina Memorial Sanctuary website to learn more and see a video and photos of the sanctuary. You may wish to schedule a tour of the sanctuary and discuss your decision with the sanctuary’s caring staff.

You can reach the sanctuary by calling 828-782-7283 or by emailing [email protected].

Schedule a Presentation

Conserving Carolina partners with the sanctuary to offer presentations about conservation burial at local houses of worship, community groups, and civic organizations. If you would like to schedule a presentation for your group, please contact us at [email protected].