A beautiful new pet memorial park, Pet Memorial Acres, recently opened in central New York State. With its commitment to green burials within its borders – and in general – it represents a future direction for pet cemeteries in the U.S. and abroad. Since there are few options for green pet-burials in dedicated cemeteries, we wanted to recognize Pet Memorial Acres by inviting its founder, Darryl Simcoe, to write of his inspiration and aspirations for this new venture.
by Darryl Simcoe, Founder, Pet Memorial Acres
My interest in pet cemeteries evolved from my research into green burials. I came across the website for Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve located in Newfield, New York. A human cemetery, it is one of a very few cemeteries in New York State that provide the option of a green burial for all people. [Note: New York State cemetery law prohibits animals from being buried in human cemeteries.]
Why promote green burial? We believe that doing so is in the best interest of our environment. I remember celebrating the first Earth Day in 1970, the year I graduated from high school – it was our generation’s response to the rapidly deteriorating conditions of our environment. Today, as a retired scuba instructor, I appreciate the fragility and significance of our world’s oceans and the need to protect all water sources from pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides. For decades, I’ve supported recycling and environmental preservation, and in researching modern funerals, am quite troubled by the tons of formaldehyde, toxic metals, exotic tropical woods, concrete and synthetic materials buried each year in cemeteries.
Most importantly, we promote green burials because we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in safe and beautiful environments. Intrigued by the ideas of green burials for pets and resource preservation, I began researching contemporary pet cemetery operations. It quickly became evident that in most regions throughout the U.S., pet guardians did not have the option of having a green burial in a licensed and dedicated (in perpetuity) cemetery. I began to envision a pet cemetery that not only provided this option, but that encouraged green burials in general.
Subsequently, I founded Pet Memorial Acres (www.MemorialAcres.com). On September 11, 2012 we opened our pet memorial park in central New York – at 9363 Fitch Road in the Town of Brookfield. We’re now able to offer a more naturalistic burial of one’s pets’ remains along with a range of funeral service options to bereaved families. So, our connection with the Green Pet-Burial Society is very timely!
Our motto is “We provide options.” When I began thinking about establishing a pet cemetery, I wanted to be able to accommodate the needs of each individual grieving for a pet, including those who are ecologically-minded. This meant finding a location that had no prohibitions against green burials. Fortunately, I found a beautiful 14+ acre plot of land that provides a combination of areas appropriate for graves, open fields, woodlands and wildlife, and which even had a section of federally protected wetland, ideal for bird watching. It’s a wonderful piece of land to preserve for future generations and overlooks a large pond, hillside and wetland.
Our goal at Pet Memorial Acres is to provide compassionate, ethical and quality services to meet each pet guardian’s specific needs. In keeping with our motto, we designated an area for green-only burials within our Valley View section. This area currently contains 127 burial plots. Families also have the option for a green burial in any of the other plots in our park.
As I mentioned to Eric, we intend to approach the development and maintenance of our memorial park with a conservationist’s sensibility. That includes avoidance of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Burial plots will be mowed and maintained, but within an area that is otherwise preserved and left as natural as possible. We will strive for low impact to the surrounding area. And the property is protected and dedicated in perpetuity.
We applaud the efforts of the Green Pet-Burial Society in working to preserve our natural resources and to promote green practices by cemetery operators. Pet Memorial Acres looks forward to working with the Society to encourage environmental sustainability in the pet-aftercare services field.
About Darryl D. Simcoe
Before founding Pet Memorial Acres, Darryl Simcoe served as an administrator for Colgate University for 27 years in the area of instructional technology. A strong supporter of volunteerism, his concern for others has been conveyd in numerous ways. Simcoe served his communities as a volunteer firefighter; Emergency Medical Technician, ambulance driver, and deputy chief of Southern Madison County Ambulance Corp.; underwater rescue and recovery diver for Madison and Onondaga Counties; commissioner and chair of Madison County (NY) Conditional Release Commission; member and chair of Community Advisory Board for Camp Georgetown Correctional Facility; director and president of the Hamilton Interfaith Council Emergency Food Cupboard; member and director of the Hamilton Community Chest; and lay member representing Park U.M. Church to North Central New York Annual Conference.
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