Sunday, 17 June 2018

Official Opening of the Green Burial Section at Parkview Cemetery, Waterloo, ON

16 June 2018

     Green burials, in line with the values and principles held by naturalists, are now more frequently available than formerly was the case, in a growing number of communities, and I was delighted when I was asked to be part of the official events on opening day at Parkview Cemetery in Waterloo.
     I was there to talk about Western Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) since there are two nests clearly visible from the cemetery in nearby Bechtel Park. 


     It seemed to be a natural corollary that people interested in sensible, eco-friendly burial practices would also be curious about these enigmatic birds of prey - and so it turned out to be.
     My good friend, Anne Morgan, was there also to provide the benefit of her expertise on native plants and pollinator insects. This huge nest of a Bald-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula adulterina) was a star attraction.



     A very small part of an insect collection also proved to hold a special fascination, especially for children.


     I should mention at this stage that Miriam had come along with me to act as photographer and I appreciated her help in memorializing the day.
     It is appropriate perhaps to acquaint you with the practice of green burial and all that it entails. If you click on the following images to enlarge them you will be able read the text quite clearly.





         This is the section of the cemetery (in the background) where green burial will be taking place. It will only be disturbed when it is necessary to open the ground; otherwise wildflowers and native plants will populate the landscape.



     Bryce Crouse,  Manager of Cemeteries and Horticulture, welcomed  everyone to the day's events.



     And local councilors, after making their speeches, do what politicians are wont to do, and planted a tree.




          There was an abundance of food and drink, all very tasty, but still unfortunately generating a considerable amount of disposable cups, plates and plastic utensils. 







     At our local club meetings and outings everyone takes their own plates, utensils, a cup, refillable water bottle etc., and perhaps at this kind of "in tune with nature" event participants could be urged to do the same. If only half the people complied that would be a step in the right direction.
    There were several giveaways including pens that are about as enviro-friendly as is possible.



     Packages of wildflower seeds were very popular....



     ......as were native plants.



       The rare Charitable Research Reserve was on hand to conduct nature walks, with a full explanation of how to use the iNature app to identify your sightings.






      I have to say that the ospreys cooperated wonderfully, with the male at one point delivering a large fish to the nest. Everyone who wished to was able to get a great look at these splendid birds.





    
     In addition, there was an incredibly confiding Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) on the roof of the chapel and it stayed there for quite a while, seemingly oblivious to the noise and motion going on around it.  Usually you can barely start to raise the camera before the bird takes off.





     I saw a couple of old friends at the event, caught up with people with whom I have worked on other projects, and was able to impart some osprey knowledge to adults and children alike. I also learned a good deal about a burial practice which I hope will become standard in communities across the country.
     My sincere thanks go to Glenna Huff for inviting me and for all her hard work in putting the event together and ensuring its success.

Note added 22 June 2018 - Miriam and I purchased a plot in the green burial section of the cemetery.

40 comments:

  1. Hello, interesting event and post. The Green Burials are new to me. I enjoyed the osprey and hawk images. Native plants are the way to go. The hornets nest is huge! Enjoy your day and have a great new week!

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  2. A very good idea.
    Let's hope the plants will be kept.

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  3. Hello David,

    Very interesting post. Green Burials was new to me too. Beautiful osprey and hawks. There are so few here where I live. I think they are so majestic. They grow in numbers here in Norway.

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  4. Hi David - how very interesting ... and I need to be back to read through the concept and what can happen etc. My aunt and uncle had wicker caskets in an ancient graveyard, though surrounded by an ancient wood - they loved their natural world.

    Gosh that hornet's nest is incredible, and how wonderful to have the insect box for everyone, particularly, the kids to look at. Great photos - love the ospreys and hawks ... excellent to have the native plant seed and plants available ...

    It sounds like you're in a great community there - all working together ... though the plastic is a little of an eyesore ... I don't like using it at all - but one just ends up with the stuff: I use less in the UK ... living with an elderly isn't easy. Your group's idea of bringing your own makes so much sense ... cheers Hilary

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    1. It's not that it's just an eyesore, Hilary, it's the amount of virtually indestructible pollution that winds up throughout the planet.

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  5. Hi Both,
    We have green burial site on the way to Rutland but I have little detail as to what it entails.
    Super to see the Hornets nest, such a size.
    The Osprey images are tops, they are such a beautiful bird that I always enjoy watching.
    The Red-tailed Hawk is a real beauty, super images Miriam.
    I notice food again, is this becoming the norm on a Gascoigne birding visit day??
    All the best, John

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  6. I love the idea of green burials, makes sense in today's world. The bird images are really nice to see, they are such beautiful creatures.

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  7. Hari om
    Been used by members of my own family...having trees as markers is wonderful. YAMxx

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    1. That is what is going to happen to me, but hopefully not for a while yet!

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  8. Brilliant idea and outing. I hope for a green funeral myself when the time comes. At the moment my body would have to be transported a considerable distance (reducing the green effect) but I live in hope.

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  9. Those ospreys are amazing! I love how those birds have made comeback. I also learned once at a museum that their poop flies straight out and that is why they nest like they do so they don't fill their nest with unwanted waste. Hope you are enjoying all the summer birds. Erika

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  10. I love the idea of a green burial. It certainly makes much sense in today’s world. Thanks for sharing this info David!

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    1. Better go get your plots, Francine. Maybe the whole Tuesday Rambles with David group will all be buried together!

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  11. Like the idea of the cemetery.
    The lady is wearing sensible shoes, good to see.
    There is a seed of work in that nest.

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  12. The hornet's nest is amazing.....an artwork!
    Interesting post and great photos.

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  13. A very interesting post - Green Burials are such a good idea in this day and age.

    Lovely to see the Osprey photos too - I've been fortunate enough to watch them in Scotland, England and Wales. They sometimes turn up locally too on passage.

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  14. Good idea of green burial. Huge and big nest!
    Amazing photos of the birds!

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  15. Första gången jag kom i kontakt med gröna begravningar var senaste vinter när jag läste en bok av en tysk skogvaktare som berättade om hur populärt detta blivit i Tyskland, här i Sverige finns det nog inte ännu men säkert kommer det.

    Så trist med denna plast överallt, vi måste lära om och det snabbt!

    Jag måste berätta om mitt möte med den grandiosa fiskgjusen. Vi bor på landet, i skogen, men jag har en liten trädgårdsdamm med porlande vatten och guldfiskar. Några mil till närmaste sjö. En vår när jag var ute och jobbade i trädgården hörde jag ett förfärligt plask i den lilla dammen, jag såg skymten av en enormt stor fågel som flög iväg. Då förstod jag inte vad det var men nästa dag var den tillbaka och tog ännu en fisk. Då såg jag vem tjuven var, en fiskgjuse som hittat min damm.
    Det märkliga var att nästa vår var den tillbaka, den flyttar ju såvitt jag vet till andra sidan jordklotet under vintern men kom ihåg min lilla fiskdamm när den återvände nästa år. Långt från sjöar och dess naturliga jaktområden och efter att ha flugit runt jordklotet fanns minnet kvar, helt otroligt! Två säsonger men sedan var den borta.

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    1. I am sorry that you lost your fish, Gunilla, but the bonus is you got to see the Osprey.

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  16. What an interesting event! I admire the collection of insects and a huge nest!
    As always, your photos are perfect !
    Greetings

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  17. Hola David, me encantaría acompañaros en este día, ya que me encantan los insectos, las aves y plantas. Gracias por compartirlo. Besos.

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  18. I suppose we all get recycled in the end - so lets make it as natural as possible!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  19. I wonder if I have ancestors in this cemetery... I need to do some checking. Well, I'm sure they wouldn't be so likely to be green back in the long-ago but I'm glad that this is a new and exciting concept. I really appreciate the idea and the opening looks very beautifully planned. The photos are terrific -- love seeing these beautiful birds.

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  20. I do like this idea, I believe there is the option in certain parts of the UK for a green burial.

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  21. Very interesting David, that obvious juxtaposition of life and death before everyone's eyes. I don't think we in the UK are as far on with this type of thing as the Canadians. I have told Sue many times that I want to be buried in the back garden so as to be close to her but for some reason she's not too keen on the idea.

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  22. What an interesting blog you have, David! My mother-in-law was an avid birder but my own skills at recognizing my garden visitors are far more limited. I enjoyed seeing the great close-ups of the red-tailed hawk in this post. They're our most common local bird of prey but, as you observed, not particularly tolerant of cameras.

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  23. Interesting post and clicking on the photos I could still not read the writing, but I managed to find all the info on the internet. What a great idea, but sad there was still plastic around, it will take time I think for some places to cut back, but it will happen, and hopefully not too late, though already too late for some! My Mum always said she wanted to be cremated, but an orange or apple box was quite good enough :-) We finally found the cheapest box they would allow! We carried out all her wishes to as close as we could. We only had a small ceremony at the graveside where her ashes were added to her mother’s grave. What was completely unplanned, and amazed us all, was a fly past of the red arrows out training just as we finished saying a few words at the graveside! Happy week Diane

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  24. It’s good that you could carry out her wishes, Diane. Death obviously comes to us all and the more we can return ourselves back to nature the better.

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  25. Great to have Ospreys so close...............

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  26. Green burials - great food for thought here, David. But, as you observe, little thought for green food. Happily, we are starting to see improvement in the plastics situation on this side of the pond, although there's a long way to go yet. Awareness is increasing, but most of us are still learning - for example, until this week, I was not aware that black plastic trays that so many supermarkets use to pack food in are not recylable. Shouldn't be plastic in the first place, but then to colour it black rendering it even more environmentally unfriendly is unforgiveable. I'll be avoiding it from now on.

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    1. We just learned the same thing about the ubiquitous black plastic trays too, Richard. The situation here may be improving marginally, but we have a long way to go. Legislation is the only answer, I fear. The public in general is unresponsive. Whenever water goes on sale in the supermarkets I see people going out with literally cart loads full of it - plastic bottles on a cardboard base wrapped in plastic . And you know that most of those bottles are never going to find their way to the landfill.

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  27. Hello David,
    This is really a beautiful series with the eagles.
    The osprey is really great.
    Best regards, Irma

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  28. hi david, it sounds like you are involved with a great project - one i was not familiar with until now. i was able to read the information you shared, what great ideas - i have never been a fan of how people are buried now and the concept of cemeteries. i want to be cremated, i don't really care what is done with my ashes.

    people are finally really starting to catch on about plastic's and recycling, but it is a long time coming and there is much more work to be done. i still see people throw trash out their car window...and lit cigarette buds onto the ground...makes my blood boil!!!

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  29. Fortunately biodegradable water bottles are in our future ans in Australia there is a brand which uses something similar to milk cartons. The deadly plastic straw has to go.Bring back the waxed paper straws we had when I was young. There are a lot of us caring individuals around and I see the young folk becoming more active about it.
    The photos of the nest, Hawk and Osprey made my day! You blog is one of the best I have ever seen. I appreciate YOU and the work you put into it!

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  30. A wonderful blog, with beautiful photos David, I enjoyed it.

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  31. Una idea muy interesante y el nido es increíble.
    Un abrazo

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  32. An interesting post with some great photos.
    That hornet's nest is amazing!

    All the best Jan

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