Fernwood is one of the country’s first environmentally conscious green cemeteries, a pioneer of the U.S. green burial movement. Natural, or green, burial here means no embalming or chemicals of any kind, no grave-liners or vaults, and only biodegradable burial containers such as a plain pine box, wicker casket, or a fabric shroud. Though our primary focus is on creating a place where burial rituals are interwoven with land restoration, we are also a full service funeral home and crematory offering a variety of modern and traditional options to serve our community. We are dedicated to assisting you in giving expression to the richness and particular beauty of a life that was like none other.
Located just a few miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County, the Fernwood site provides an outstanding opportunity to manage our property as part of the greater mountain landscape. Our thirty-two acres are adjacent to almost 75,000 acres of protected open space in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Fernwood has a long history in Mill Valley, dating back to the late 1800’s, and the historic graves are surrounded by heritage oak and bay trees that have witnessed 120 years of history. The areas now designated for green burial include ancestral woodlands as well as coastal prairie meadow where native wildflowers and grasses grow. As part of our land stewardship, we do not allow traditional cut and polished headstones or bronze markers, but a small natural boulder can be engraved and used as a marker. Some families choose simply to blend into the hillside allowing each tree, flower, songbird, and butterfly to become a memorial to a loved one and a hope for the future. Fernwood is a consecrated place where the living and the dead are connected through cycles of nature, memory, and conservation.
In a synergistic blend, we use both a simple nature based approach as well as the latest technology. Each grave is mapped using Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and every burial is marked with an identification device to ensure their loved ones can find their location. Our commitment is to save natural resources and preserve native plants and animals. As a National Wildlife Federation Certified Habitat, our landscape provides food, water, cover, and places for our native animals to raise their young.
Each individual is invited to bring creativity and personal vision to this place. We welcome people from all religious and spiritual traditions, including one entirely your own. For those looking for an uncomplicated way to return to nature, we offer a place to celebrate your life in a living land memorial. When you become a part of Fernwood you become a part of a continuum beyond yourself: A community expression of memory, restoration, and preservation for those that follow us.
Read an interview with Kathy Curry of Fernwood Cemetary about natural burial here (<--link) or view video here (<--link)