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Hi Everyone,

Thanks to the availability of a new GPS system, we now have the capability to find the exact location of any point on the Penn Forest property with surveyor accuracy (within a half-inch). We’re using this system to determine the exact latitude and longitude of our new Treemation service for instance, but we can use it to map anything on our property—trees, benches, buildings, gardens—anything! So, we can quickly expand any of our existing burial areas and precisely locate the new graves on our maps without having to hire a surveyor. Penn Forest is going high-tech!
Some other things in this newsletter: You can now post and view information about anyone interred here. We have pictures from our October 14th memorial tree-planting event. Yoga with Goats wraps up the 2017 season and we have photos of the last class. Finally, there is a list of popular Facebook posts you may have missed.
Treemation Now Available at Penn Forest. At Penn Forest, you can bury the cremated remains of a family member or friend under a small tree or shrub and watch it grow. It’s a service we call, ‘Treemation’. In this way, you can honor a loved one and help Penn Forest with our forestry work. These trees can last for years, and each time you visit Penn Forest you can see how your tree is growing.
Treemation contributes to Penn Forest’s reforestation efforts to enhance the tree diversity on our 35-acres. Treemation does not compost remains because, after cremation, remains are inert. If you want your body to become part of the living ecosystem of a tree or shrub, then you should consider green burial.

This Treemation service includes the following:
  • A 2’ to 4’ tall native tree or shrub. We offer several tree locations for you to choose from. Approximately 40 native tree and shrub species are available. From those options, you select the species and location.
  • We dig the hole for the cremated remains and for the tree. (Cremated remains are either poured in directly or the family can provide a biodegradable urn.)
  • We provide an interment and tree-planting service, which includes tent, chairs set-up and golf cart transportation of those with mobility issues. Clergy or officiants can be obtained by the family. (Referrals provided if needed.)
  • A 6’ high fence protects your tree from deer.
  • The plant species and the name of the deceased are labeled on the fence.
  • Guarantee: If the tree dies during the first year after planting, we replace it. 
  • Penn Forest removes weeds from inside the deer fence during the year.  After that, we encourage you to take over maintenance of your tree.
  • Cremated remains interment, tree, fence, website listings, one-year guarantee.   $1200.00
  • Optional 12” engraved flat natural stone marker.  $  250.00
For more information contact Laura Faessel (
Online Information About Those Interred at Penn Forest. If you know someone interred at Penn Forest, you can use our free online service to provide or view information (text, photos, videos) about that person. This applies to both full-body interments and cremated remains interments including Treemation. Once your information has been entered, we confirm with the family that it is appropriate before posting. 

Just go to this link and type in the person’s first or last name, then click on the Search button. When that person’s name is found, click on the More Information / Condolences link and you will be offered a choice of several options: Obituary, Funeral Services, Life History, Memories, Share a Memory, Military, Add a Photo, Forward to Family & Friends, View Photos, and Video. You can either add your own information or view what others have posted. To post something to on a deceased page, click on the please share your memories of...' link and follow the instructions. 

You can also click on the MAP button, and a google satellite map with the grave location will be displayed. In addition, exact latitude and longitude coordinates of the grave location are displayed. These can be typed into a hand-held GPS unit to be used to find the grave.
Memorial Tree-Planting Event Saturday, October 14th. Every fall we give our lot owners, their families and anyone else who’s interested an opportunity to help with our forestation efforts by planting trees on our property.
This is a group effort. Kathy Raborn, our tree-planting expert, gave us instructions on how to make sure our trees survive. Rev. Tricia Brown was also there to dedicate our work and people could walk her labyrinth, a part of the ritual. We all worked together helping each other with the planting work. Each tree comes with a 6’ high deer protection fence, and trees have a one-year replacement guarantee. People can also purchase a small stone marker to dedicate their trees.

Here are some pictures from this year's event:
Yoga with Goats Update. Penn Forest’s Returning Home Farm closed out the first season of Yoga with Goats on October 21. Three yoga teachers, Moni Wesner (one of our first Penn Forest lot owners), Myrna Patterson (a new lot owner) and Kate Duncan, taught over 20 classes in the barn and in the field. Each class included students who had never done yoga and couldn’t resist the idea of exercising with the goats. For some, it was a birthday excursion. As expected with Pittsburgh weather, we held classes in downpours (in the barn) and in over 90-degree heat. Kate created our website,, where you can learn more about the three teachers and their three different styles of yoga. Also, that will be the place to check for classes in the spring.
See you then!
Here’s a montage of photos from the last class of the 2017 season:


Ten Penn Forest Facebook Postings You Might Have Missed:
Listen to Caitlin Doughty’s October 27th interview on NPR’s Science Friday, “How to Handle Death From Around the World.”
“Simple green burials create serene final resting spots,” reposting of an April 5, 2016 Trib article about Penn Forest.
“2,000 trees planted in Merizo for watershed reforestation project,” Pacific Daily News.
“Vikings Razed the Forests. Can Iceland Regrow Them?,” The New York Times.
“I wanna be a tree,” Penn Forest.
“The Art of Natural Death Care,” vimeo.
Goats - How Much Cold Can They Take?
Bitter Ends Luncheonette
Where Did Pittsburghers Bury Their Dead Before Allegheny Cemetery
New Zealand Govt. to Plant 100 Million Trees
Death Café. The last Death Café for 2017 was held October 25th at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the North Hills. There aren’t any currently scheduled, but there will be. So, check their Facebook page for future events.
Planting Flowers on Graves. It’s nice when people plant flowers on graves, but it’s not so nice when the deer eat them. Here’s a list Kathy Raborn gave us of native PA plants that are deer resistant. Read the disclaimer and proceed at your own risk. (Note: We reserve the right to trim or remove plants that grow beyond grave boundaries.)

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Did You Know?

You signed up for this newsletter because you are interested in green burial at Penn Forest, so I'm sure you know that we don't allow embalming with toxic chemicals, we bury people in biodegradable coffins or shrouds and we don't use burial vaults. But did you know...You can have a viewing and visitation at a funeral home before a green burial. Or if you don't want to use a funeral home at all, we can arrange that too. By chilling the body, green burial can occur up to 10 days after death. You can be an organ donor and still have a green burial. You can be cremated and have your ashes interred at Penn Forest in a biodegradable container.

The choice is yours. Contact Penn Forest for more information, and other options to help you make the best choices for you and your family.

Green Burial Questions?

You've got questions...we've got answers!  Check out our Green Burial Frequently Asked Questions.  Do you have a question that was not answered in the FAQ's? Email us and we will be happy to answer it for you.

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