Frequently Asked Questions
For any other questions or information please contact us
A type of cemetery that allows full body interment in the ground, without embalming, using a biodegradable container, and without a grave liner or vault. Our plots are more than 5 times larger than a traditional cemetery plot, and we use plants, trees, and flowers to mark the grave as opposed to headstones. Natural Burial does not use embalming, traditional caskets, or vaults, and is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional burial. Cremated remains and pet remains may be buried here as well. Please visit the following link from the Green Burial Council for more specific information on Natural Burial: https://www.greenburialcouncil.org/green_burial_defined.html
Yes! We are officially certified by the Green Burial Council, which is the international certifying body for green burials. We meet and exceed all of their requirements, and you can find us listed as a certified provider on their website.
To purchase a plot, simply navigate to the "Available Plots" page and locate a plot you'd like to purchase on the map. From there, click the plot and press "add to cart." You may purchase as multiple plots at once. Please note, your "purchase" of a lot is actually a lease until the date February 1, 2121. Once the date February 1, 2121 passes, this land may be dedicated as a public park.
The burial preserve is open to the public from dawn to dusk. You are able to walk on the paths and look at sites whenever you choose. We ask that you respect any active services or burials by giving them adequate space and privacy. If you would like a guided tour, please contact us via email or phone and we would be happy to set up a time to meet with you.
A Digital Headstone™ is a webpage that contains information about the deceased. You may choose to add whatever details you would like, including photos, videos, information, service times and locations, as well as a link to the charity of your choice for donations. You can search for a person's Digital Headstone™ under "Locate Deceased" by typing in their name. This offers people the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy with their information that relatives and loved ones can view for years to come. There is also a section of the page for families and friends to leave comments on. (We reserve the right to remove any comments we deem inappropriate or offensive at our discretion.)
Click "Locate Deceased" at the top of the website. On the top left you will see a search bar. Type the first and last name of the deceased into the search box. You must type their exact name. For example, if you wish to find "John Doe" you must type "John Doe" and not just "John". You also must use the correct spelling of their name in order to search them, and not alternative spellings or nicknames.
Add a Digital Headstone™ to your cart in the checkout section and proceed through checkout. A staff member will be in touch via email to collect the photos, videos, information, etc. that you would like on the page.
Absolutely. You can arrange with your funeral director to pick up the body and arrange for burial. We strictly prohibit embalming in our preserve, but funeral directors offer many services like transportation of the body, dressing, and storage that do not involve embalming.
No. Embalming is strictly prohibited. Embalming is unnecessary and involves the use of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, which creates pollution in our soils and causes high cancer rates in embalmers. Alternatives such as refrigeration are available at many funeral homes if you are not able to bury the deceased immediately after passing.
No. We are not a funeral home or mortuary. In the state of Wisconsin, it is illegal for funeral homes and cemeteries to be owned by the same group. Therefore, we are not able to offer funeral services that a funeral home/mortuary can, and vice versa. You may contract with a funeral home to provide services such as transportation of the body or refrigerated storage before the burial, but please remember embalming is strictly prohibited.
Traditional headstones are prohibited in our preserve. You may order a small, flat headstone that lists the name and birth/death date of the deceased through our website. We also offer the option to choose from our list of native plants, trees, and flowers and we will provide your selection to plant during burial.
You do! The beauty of Natural Burial is that family and friends have the opportunity to be more involved in the burial process than they would be in "traditional" burial. We have a variety of shovels and measuring tools, and you will receive information after purchasing a plot on where to dig and what size to dig the site. You will be required to sign a waiver releasing Sòlas Natural Burial Preserve and its affiliates from any liability or responsibility from injuries before digging. We recognize that not everyone is physically able or interested in digging the burial site themselves. We have an on-site electric excavator and would be happy to prepare the site for you at an additional fee. If you would like us to prepare the site, please contact us before reserving a burial time.
No! Treated wood or metal caskets are prohibited. We do offer simple, untreated pine caskets that are handcrafted by Trappist Monks with wood harvested from forests in Des Moines, Iowa and meet the standards of the Green Burial Council. We also offer biodegradable shrouds (with handles) from a certified Green Burial provider that may be used for burial as well. Shrouds are available in various sizes. More information about these products is located on the Cart/Checkout page. Click the item to read its description for more details.
The simpler the better. We ask that you opt for natural fabrics like cotton or linen. Please avoid plastics and large amounts of metal. The goal is to "leave no trace" and avoid unnatural materials.
No. The materials and energy involved in removing these artificial joints/objects creates much more pollution and waste than leaving them in. We do ask that you remove pacemakers, as they can be recycled and reused. (The removal process can be completed by a doctor or mortician. Please contact your pacemaker provider for more information.)
Only if they are biodegradable. Please refrain from placing any unnatural items such as metals, plastics, etc. in the burial site.
Yes! Soil is the best natural filter there is, binding organic compounds and making them unable to travel. Microorganisms in the soil break down any chemical compounds that remain in the body. We lose more toxic chemicals during a day of living than a whole body will decomposing. Additionally, embalming does not remove toxins from anywhere in the body except the fluids that are removed during the process.
There is no such thing as a "sealed" casket, in fact, it is illegal to call a casket sealed in the United States because it simply is not possible! Every single casket decomposes, but the rate of decomposition depends on the materials used. Every casket will break down eventually, and water, soil, dirt, microorganisms, etc. will enter the casket, and the body will completely decompose as well. Using a metal or treated wood casket simply prolongs the decomposition rate, while leaching toxins like arsenic into the surrounding soils.
No. Animals can only smell up to 18 inches below the ground, and they are much more interested in above-ground prey. Bodies are buried below 36 inches, which gives more than enough room to prevent animals from smelling them. Humans have a significantly weaker sense of smell than animals, so there is no possibility of smelling decomposition.
Absolutely! You can purchase a plot today, even if you don't think you will need it for decades.
In order to be buried next to someone, you must purchase multiple plots at a time. We can not guarantee that plots will be available next to a previously purchased plot unless they are purchased at the same time.
Yes! If a Veteran purchases a designated space in our "Veteran" section, they may purchase a second plot in order to guarantee their partner is buried next to them. You must purchase these plots at the same time however, as we cannot guarantee that open plots will be available next to previously purchased plots.
Yes. You may purchase a burial plot in our preserve to bury cremated remains. Remains must be buried in a biodegradable container and all plastic must be removed. We strictly prohibit the scattering of ashes anywhere on our property as it is hazardous to wildlife and the environment. Cremated remains consist of calcium phosphate and sodium and are heavy, apt to smother foliage on the surface. Underground cremated remains create what is essentially a nutrient-deficient salt lick that has no environmental benefits. We encourage anyone considering cremation to reconsider opting for a natural burial instead, as cremation emits a large amount of toxic gases and metals.
Cremation results in toxic emissions including persistent pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter (PM), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDDs/DFs), co-planar polychlorinated biphenyls (co-PCBs), and heavy metals. Many of these toxins can bioaccumulate in humans, including mercury. Cremation causes release of mercury (often from dental amalgams, but also from general bioaccumulation in the body) into the environment both in areas close to the source and into the atmosphere. Cremation also requires a significant amount of fuel, and results in millions of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year. There are concerns for crematory workers as well, who may be exposed to nuclear medicine treatments (chemotherapeutics/radiation), orthopedic (implants) and pacemaker explosions, and nanoparticles. Emission concentrations of harmful air pollutants from cremators can be affected by several factors, including fuel type, cremator type, flue gas post-treatment system, filters, dust collectors, and operational maintenance. Environmental regulations requiring scrubbing and filtering systems help to burn and neutralize pollutants like the mercury emissions, particulate matter, and nitrous oxide, however, these filters fail to neutralize the carbon dioxide generated during cremation. Natural burial produces zero chemicals and pollutants and is a much "greener" alternative to traditional burial.
No. Human composting, also known as natural organic reduction, is not legal in Wisconsin, it is only legal in 6/50 US States. Human composting involves placing the body in a steel container and using heat and oxygen to speed the decomposition process.
As part of the requirements to become a certified Natural Burial Cemetery by the Green Burial Council, we are required to establish and maintain a fund that provides for the maintenance of the site. When you buy a plot, you are not only paying to use that space, you are also making a donation to the fund to maintain and preserve the land for years to come.