Sunday, we started our first cemetery cleanup as a family. Travis and I have been talking about this for a while now. As we have driven around doing research, we have seen a lot of old local cemeteries that have been left untended. When a cemetery is left untended long enough, nature reclaims it and it is lost. We don’t want to see this happen because of the importance of these cemeteries.
Shortly after we were married we cleaned up the old cemetery closest to us where my great, great grandparents are buried and Travis now mows it on a regular basis. We decided we wanted to do more though. The action had to start somewhere so this year we are beginning a family habit of cleaning up others. The first one we decided to tackle is the old Valley Springs cemetery.
It was a little worse off than we remembered. Tall brush had taken it over as you can see. Leaf litter was thick. Lighting had struck one of the big trees and left large branches laying around it. Luckily, with all the brush being dormant and having shallow root systems, we were able to just pull the plants up. We piled them over to the side to dispose of later. Travis used the weed eater where he could, but mostly we cleaned brush and picked up dead limbs. We put a good dent in it considering we were there for only just shy of two hours. After that, Savannah started getting fussy. We figured we should pack it in and go home for dinner.
Travis has been running down to the cemetery each day since it’s close to his work. He and a buddy load up his truck with the brush so he can bring it home for us to dispose of. The county is under a burn ban so we couldn’t burn it on site. And it certainly couldn’t be burned near any headstones because it could damage them.
We are considering starting a Facebook cleanup group to bring awareness to local cemeteries that need tending. We’d like to get more people to help us clean these places up. Even if they are motivated to take care of one on their own, it’ll be worth it. It would be great to have a system set up like the “adopt a highway” program for local cemeteries.