In keeping with Bluestem’s guiding principles, memorials to loved ones are natural, modest, and respectful. A gravestone is included in the purchase of an interment right. They are native to the region and lie flat to the ground. Grave markers are small aluminum pins, similar to a survey pin, and stamped with name and dates. After burial, these are placed in the center of every grave.
Selection of a gravestone can be made at the time of purchase or after a burial. Choice of stone is either from materials found during our restoration work, or from North Carolina flagstone provided onsite. Families are responsible for the engraving of the stone (performed offsite) and return to lay the stone at the gravesite. Offsite stone or polished granite headstones are not allowed.
Individuals choosing to “leave no trace” can rely on the grave marker centered in their grave. The grave marker is connected to GPS, and tracked through Bluestem's record-keeping system. Grave markers in the fields and woodlands also denote reserved burial plots.
Honoring Loved Ones
A burial service at Bluestem is created by the family or designated service leader and can include as much or as little ceremony as desired. Families that have designed services at Bluestem have invited ministers, poets, musicians, singers, pets, all of the relatives, or only friends. Bluestem staff and volunteers support the family by being present and witness, standing by to lower the casket or shroud, or the placing of the ashes in the ground. In our experience, people are so deeply present in nature and with the support of loving friends and family around them, moved to lower their loved ones into the ground. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if we can be of assistance in helping to craft your burial service.
Remembering at Bluestem
Returning family and friends can locate their loved one’s gravesite or, as importantly, they can experience the fullness of the entire nature preserve in honor of their loved one’s memory. After burial services, families receive GPS coordinates for the location of graves. Our GPS record keeping system will be introduced over Summer 2023.
Gravesites at Bluestem are natural spaces within restored grasslands and woodlands. The gravesites alter over time and may even "disappear" with the seasons. Gravesites become one with the evolving landscape. No framing of graves is permitted. If collections of stones, branches, or other leave behinds are assembled around or on gravesites, they will be removed.
No outside plantings are permitted; however, native plantings and seeds may be provided for the burial service by Bluestem staff. Please speak with us directly about your wishes for memorialization.
We are currently engaged in a landscape wide inventory of existing plants, shrubs and trees, and developing a list of approved native plants for future consideration. Contact us if you would like to make a donation towards this effort in the name of your loved one.