Heidi Hannapel of Bluestem Conservation Cemetery

Today we're talking with Heidi Hannapel, cofounder of the Bluestem Conservation Cemetery, about options for green burial. We're also taking a look at our modern approach to death and the practices that surround it. Heidi and her business partner Jeff Masten are land conservationists and conservation burial specialists, concerned with the degradation of our planet through wasteful burial practices. They are committed to offering an alternative to conventional burial, working on green burial initiatives specifically tied to land conservation, encouraging a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impacts. Through the establishment of Bluestem, Heidi and Jeff's vision is to establish the concept of conservation burial as a tool for protecting natural lands, wildlife and plant species, creating healing green spaces and increasing community connections to nature, and creating opportunities for those seeking green burial options for themselves and their loved ones.

In addition, we talk to Heidi about her personal journey with death practices and conventions, inspired by the time she spent being present to her own mother's illness and death in 2015. This experience left her with the realization that death and loss are shared human experiences worthy of active participation, both before the passing of the loved one and in the sacred space between death and burial. Our modern customs often separate us not only from the process of dying itself, but also from the opportunity to experience the the hours and days after the passing as an opportunity for powerful healing. Modern burial procedures also separate us from the processes of nature, in which remains of the deceased continue to be part of the natural life cycle of the planet. The idea behind rethinking our cultural death practices and considering green burial, and as in the case of Bluestem Conversation Cemetery conservation burial, is that human death be honored and embraced as a sacred passage, "where nature is enough."

Join us on this week’s episode as we learn more about green burials and how they can contribute to land conservation efforts and lessen our impact on the environment.

Stay tuned to learn more!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podchaser, Simplecast, Podtail, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Topics Covered:

  • Green burial options/reducing environmental impact
  • Integration of life and death through conservation areas
  • Death doulas
  • Home funerals and home burials
  • Hybrid cemeteries


Guest Info

Follow Us: