About Whispering Hills Cemetery

Whispering Hills is a natural “Green” cemetery contained within a memorial nature preserve.

What is a Natural Cemetery?

The most frequently asked question about Whispering Hills is “What is a natural Green Cemetery?”

A Natural Cemetery, or “Green” Cemetery, is a cemetery that has a more natural (and environmentally friendly) approach to end of life burials. Embalmed bodies are not allowed. No metal caskets or cement vaults are allowed. Cremains may be buried or scattered after being mixed with a specially formulated soil that will encourage plant growth.

Green burials only use natural materials that are biodegradable in order to allow remains to return to the Earth naturally.

To learn more about the history of natural burial throughout the USA and specifically in Georgia, read Piecing Together the Green Burial Movement, featured in The Bitter Southerner

Frequently Asked Questions

Elizabeth Fournier, author of The Green Burial Guidebook answered that when she wrote “Green Burial is a way of caring for our dead with the least possible environmental impact.”

According to the Green Burial Council, Green burial is a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact that aids in the conservation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions, protection of worker health,and the restoration and/or preservation of habitat.

The Green Burial Council (GBC) is responsible for certifying green burial practices. This means that they set standards for burial grounds, funeral homes, and products to ensure they are environmentally friendly and sustainable. This certification provides peace of mind to individuals who are seeking green burial options.

Whispering Hills is currently the only GBC certified natural green cemetery in GA!

Whispering Hills, LLC is zoned and set aside by Troup County Georgia (Plat Book 81, page 89) as a “green, Natural Cemetery Only.” It is registered by the State of Georgia as a “Perpetual Care Cemetery.” Fifteen percent of funds collected for interment rights is paid into a Perpetual Care Trust to be used in the future if needed to maintain the cemetery.

Additional Information

  1. Embalmed bodies will not be accepted for burial. Cremated remains will be accepted for burial or scattering after being mixed with a specially formulated soil that will encourage plant growth.
  2. Burial containers are limited to shrouds and materials that are natural, nontoxic, and/or biodegradable. Metal caskets or cement vaults are not allowed.
  • Our green cemetery is a full source provider for opening and closing of gravesites for full body natural burials, cremains (ashes) burials, and cremains scatterings, but family members are welcome and invited to participate in the process. First of all, families can choose their type of shroud or casket, as long as it is made of completely biodegradable materials, such as a natural pine, recycled cardboard, or wicker casket, or an orthodox shroud covered by a family heirloom quilt or blanket, for example. Then, as well as assisting in the actual burial, they are welcome to help prepare/decorate the grave after it is dug to the needed specifications. They can lay flowers or other natural cut foliage in the bottom of the grave, making it look more inviting and seemingly comfortable. It is also an option and can be extra-meaningful when participants choose to have notes written on a casket with a marker before it is lowered, and/or then after it is lowered, drop soil, flowers, notes or other [biodegradable only] items onto the casket, leaving the deceased settled in his or her final resting place.
  • REMINDER: Our natural cemetery is a forest environment and guests should dress accordingly!Families can….
    • Participate in digging the grave.
    • Serve a pall bearers (NOTE: training briefing required) to transfer the body from a vehicle transporter to the actual grave transporter (motorized field cart or manually pulled wagon cart)
    • Accompany the body in a procession to the grave site
    • Serve as pallbearers to transport the body to the grave site
    • Anoint casket or shroud with oil or add cut flowers/foliage
    • Lower the casket or shroud into the grave
    • Conduct their own graveside service
    • Participate in covering the grave with soil part way or until completion.

or, Families can…

    • Proceed to the grave-site where the casket or shroud is in place ready to be lowered
    • Proceed to the grave-site where the body will already be in the grave
    • Participate in lowering the casket or shroud
    • Have a graveside service and then have a private lowering and/or closing after the guests leave
    • Have us complete all of the covering after the guests leave

…Or any combination of the above!!
Depending on the size of the body being interred, 4-6 pallbearers are needed. Whispering Hills can provide needed pallbearers, but if families wish to serve in their place, a member of our staff will need to meet prior to the start of the service with the volunteer team in order to explain the process and ensure the pallbearers are knowledgeable and comfortable in their role requirements.

  • It is the family’s choice of what services are hired to a Funeral Home.  We welcome any questions and will do our best to assist a family in answering questions regarding their meeting with a funeral home.  It is helpful to know your rights; feel free to contact the Funeral Consumer Alliance of Georgia (https://fcaga.org/planning/funeral-rule/) for more information.  It is a law in Georgia for a licensed funeral director to be present for burial of a human body and they must remain onsite until the body is completely covered.  It is possible for a family to choose to handle their own cremated remains burial process- to include using the services of a doula or other person to plan or conduct the burial service.

GPS locations of burial sites and general area of scattering sites will be kept on file in office as well as with webCemeteries.

  • Grave markers may be made from stones found on the property.
  • No adornments, other than fresh cut flowers.
  • No adornments of any kind may be left on any interment space, lot, or tree.
  • No tents, benches, chairs, or similar items are permitted in the preserve unless arranged through the staff or authorized funeral directors. No balloon or bird releases are allowed.
  • No removal, mining or extraction of soil, gravel, stones, or minerals (other than removal of soil for digging of graves) is permitted.
  • All cremains are mixed with a special soil composting supplement called “Let Your Love Grow” (https://letyourlovegrow.com/). When added to ashes, the acidity of the mixture is naturally reduced to a level where normal plant growth is not hindered. This is to ensure that plant growth will continue in the scattering area. The added cost of the special supplement is included in both the burial fee and the scattering price.
  • Cremains to be broadly scattered must be received at Whispering Hills office four months prior to physical scattering in order to begin the composting process. This is to ensure plant growth will continue to flourish in the scattering area.
  • Cremains that are buried or scattered “as mulch” (in a hand-raked area of only a couple square yards, and then afterwards covered in leaves) do not have the 4 month compost requirement prior to interment and can be buried immediately.
  • Visitors are welcome. After visitors have been given a tour, and signed a Hold Harmless agreement, they are welcome to walk, bike, or horseback ride on their own throughout the cemetery trails. With submission of a valid drivers license, they may also be allowed use of a cart on established trails only.
  • Pets are welcome on a leash
  • No cars or trucks are allowed on trails.

Interment & Scattering Services

Every natural burial is unique. The family, the funeral director, and the staff at Whispering Hills will discuss available options and help make arrangements for an appropriate and memorable interment or scattering service.

Whispering Hills LLC is a licensed perpetual care cemetery certified as a natural burial ground by the Green Burial Council of America. Directors of the following licensed funeral homes have visited Whispering Hills and can provide you with first-hand information.