Our Protocols

Serenity Ridge Natural Burial Cemetery & Arboretum Protocols

We invite you to our natural burial cemetery to both celebrate life and find peace in nature. Our property is maintained and managed to increase the biodiversity of native species of both plant and animal life. The rules we follow are intended to offer a place of quiet reflection for visitors in an ecologically rich environment, while maintaining the quiet order of the grounds and preserving the integrity of a final resting place. We will have benches placed throughout the property to allow one to sit and reflect.

General Operations

  • The cemetery is open to visitors Monday through Friday from 9:00AM – 5:00PM and when Saturday tours and weekend events are being held.
  • Serenity Ridge a natural burial cemetery will be operated exclusively as a green burial cemetery. Practices and policies conform to the guidelines set forth by the Green Burial Council (GBC), the organization that regulates Green Burial Standards for natural cemeteries in the United States.
  • Visitors must not disturb wildlife or other visitors to the park. We request that personal devices such as mobile phones be switched off within the burial grounds to preserve the peace and tranquility of the area.
  • Dogs must always remain on a leash and under your control. Pet owners are responsible for the clean-up and off-site removal of waste and for ensuring that dogs do not create a disturbance to other visitors or to the grounds.
  • Flowers, decorative plants, shrubs and trees may not be planted at the cemetery without first securing the express permission of Serenity Ridge management. Permission will only be granted for native species from an approved list. Generally, plant growth on the grave site will be allowed to return to its natural state.
  • If you are not a member of a funeral party or engaged in pre-approved planting activities, all visitors must keep to the paths to avoid trampling and damage to the natural and emerging ground cover.
  • To reduce the potential impacts associated burial site access, graveside gatherings will be limited to thirty people. The set-up of tents, chairs, sound amplification systems, or similar items designed to accommodate larger groups are generally inconsistent with the intended use of the cemetery and will not be allowed without the express permission of Serenity Ridge management.
  • All excavations of graves are performed by Serenity Ridge trained employees only. Due to the challenges associated with digging in local soils, families may participate in the closing of the grave but not the opening.
  • Serenity Ridge will not be held responsible for stolen property, vandalism, or damage as a result of acts beyond its reasonable control.
  • Serenity Ridge will not be responsible for any injury, death, or damage to personal property that may occur due to either proper use or intentional misuse of its property.
  • A register of burials with an electronic record, GPS coordinates and a map of exact burial sites will be maintained by Serenity Ridge. Records will be made available for review upon request.
  • Alcohol and illegal drug use on Serenity Ridge property is strictly prohibited.
  • Firearms except as part of a military honor guard in connection with a burial or memorial service are strictly prohibited.
  • All visitors use of Serenity Ridge property is at their own risk. As the grounds are a nature preserve, visitors assume all risks associated with potential hazards that may be found there. These include but are not limited to slip, trip and fall hazards, uneven terrain and paths, holes, wet grass, low or fallen tree branches, falling and fallen trees etc. Wildlife may be present. People may have allergic reactions to some plants or animal life.
  • No vehicles such as motorcycles, bicycles, motorbikes, scooters, rollerblades, etc. will be allowed on the property. The exception will be motorized wheelchairs for the disabled.
  • We will have golf carts to help shuttle people to and from the grave for those who need help.

Green Burial Regulations

  • Interments must take place at a date and time agreed with Serenity Ridge. Serenity Ridge generally allows burials seven days a week unless severe weather conditions preclude burial on any given day. Serenity Ridge shall be provided 48 hours’ notice (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) for the opening and closing of burial sites.
  • Burials on holidays (e.g. New Years’ Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas) will require an additional 24 hours’ advance notice. If you need to arrange a burial on a holiday, you must get in touch with us at least three full days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) in advance of that holiday, and we will let you know within 24 hours whether we will be able to accommodate you.
  • No body shall be buried unless the death has been registered and the proper documentation is supplied to Serenity Ridge.
  • Serenity Ridge offers Cremation Spaces for families who choose cremation for their final disposition and will be allowed in designated parts of the burial ground. The remains will be documented and recorded in the same manner as any burial.
  • No cremated remains shall be buried unless a certificate of cremation is supplied to Serenity Ridge.
  • Serenity Ridge relies on an authorized agent to identify the remains of the deceased or by the funeral home or next of kin.
  • All necessary interment forms are to be signed by the next of kin or an authorized agent prior to any interment.
  • Interment takes place between 10am and 3pm daily.
  • If for any reason the interment cannot be scheduled during the regular time period, prior arrangements must be made with the cemetery.
  • All inquiries should be directed to the cemetery general manager.
  • All cemetery charges and fees must to be paid in full before an interment can occur.

Caskets & Coverings

  • Caskets and shrouds must be made from naturally biodegradable materials approved by the GBC.
  • Caskets, if used, must be made of pine, bamboo, wicker, soft woods, or of other renewable sources.
  • Hardwood caskets, metal caskets, or caskets that have been stained or finished will not be permitted, nor will burial vaults.
  • A fabric burial shroud may be used providing it has been made of naturally biodegradable materials.
  • Non-organic materials, such as metal, plastic, concrete, or synthetic materials are not permitted to be buried or placed in the Cemetery. No personal jewelry.
  • Plastic flowers arrangements, vases, photographs, manmade or manufactured items may not be left on a gravesite or cemetery property.
  • Cremated remains, if buried in an urn, the urn must be biodegradable.


  • Toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde are not allowed.
  • Embalmed bodies must use a GBC approved fluid, such as Enigma by the Champion Company.

Memorial Markers

  • This burial ground is being managed to encourage the natural landscape. Therefore, the erection of monuments, fences, decorative stones upon burial sites are not allowed.
  • Cremated remains buried in designated areas in the burial ground will be located in “cremation garden groupings”. There typically will not be an individualized memorial marker but rather a Cenotaph which will have the individual names listed. An approved small headstone could be placed by the family if approved by Serenity Ridge.
  • Serenity Ridge, as part of the interment package, will provide natural fieldstones that are no larger than 400 sq. inches and no more than 20 inches in one dimension. The name and dates of life will be placed on the stone marker, which will be flush with the ground.

Get in touch

2406 Ridge Road
Windsor Mill, MD 21244

For any questions you may have, please feel free to contact us and someone will get back to you.

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