It’s been just over a year since we began land restoration at Carolina Memorial Sanctuary. During these past twelve months we have witnessed transformation of the Sanctuary grounds and a shifting of ideas and beliefs surrounding death. Much love, care and inspiration has manifested through the generosity of time and labor from our volunteers and staff.
Golf cart and walking trails are now established. A young team of AmeriCorps workers was with us for a week during the summer to train in and assist with the removal of exotic plants. We continue Sanctuary land restoration by planting native species of trees, shrubs and plants and keeping a check on the exotic plants. Of all of our projects so far, my favorite – because of the fun factor, was the restoration of our bridge across McDowell Creek. With quotes for professional repair reaching $60K and nudging from two structural engineers, we were encouraged to take on the task ourselves. Anthony, Jasper, myself and 4 strong, intelligent and willing volunteers (plus $12K of local locust lumber) created a strong and simple structure (see below). All of our tasks and efforts strengthen the bond to and love for our Sanctuary.
We now have a staff that has grown to four (including Jasper the dog/greeter). Our pool of amazing volunteers continues to increase – assisting with burials, services, planting, building, cutting wood, installing bird houses, trail maintenance, the list goes on and on. The most sought after volunteer job is driving one of our golf carts. “Any day at the Sanctuary is a good day”, Cemo, volunteer extraordinaire.
We have had the privilege to assist with 9 burials of our human and pet friends. Over 200 guests have witnessed and supported these intimate gatherings. This experience of laying a loved one to rest in an inclusive, engaged and natural way, allows guests to participate in this final act of caring of someone they loved, described by one friend as “the most beautiful thing I’ve ever witnessed”. We are honored and grateful to be able to offer conservation and green burial to our community.
Through memorial gifting, we have received funds to plant trees and shrubs and install memorial benches and bird houses. One of our guests, before his death, made arrangements for us to receive a generous grant to help with Sanctuary efforts. We have recently applied for a “matching” grant to help us restore the northern section of the Sanctuary which requires drainage design and construction. Fund raising for the “match” to this grant will begin in the spring.
As a new business offering a concept that many people aren’t yet familiar with (conservation & green burial) – we are eager to get the word out and let our community know that we exist. Conservation & Green burial is an exciting offer for those who desire something that is natural, simple, beautiful, and kind to the earth. Please help us get the word out about Carolina Memorial Sanctuary and what we offer.
May you experience many happy, blessed opportunities.
Caroline Yongue – Director